AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

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September 26, 2014

Mike Weinard is our volunteer of the week! Through out this election, Mike has stepped up to any task, whether it be canvassing, making phone calls, or taking out the office trash, Mike is there for our team. This week alone, Mike has volunteered on four different campaigns. Starting with Kevin Kinney last Saturday in North Liberty, driving to Waverly on Sunday to help our Union sister, Teresa Meyer, continuing the week helping make phone calls for local candidates, and ending it supporting Daniel Lundby in Marion.

Mike is a retiree of AFSCME Locals 183 and 2983.

Mike works tirelessly to support candidates that respect public employees and value the services we provide to our community. Please give Mike a thank you for all he does for his AFSCME brothers and sisters.

Click "Read more" to see two larger pictures of Mike volunteering.

Read more >>>

AFSCME is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund n its Union Scholars Program to provide educational opportunities and scholarships to talented students of color from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other colleges and universities.


 

September 24, 2014

(Pictured Left to Right at ALS Walk: Morgan Williams (daughter of Jason), Local 212 Vice President Jason Williams, Local 212 President Chris De Harty, Local 212 Executive Board Member Wage Boogerd, and Local 212 Executive Board Member Ron Isaacson)

While the nationwide awareness of ALS has increased dramatically with the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, members of AFSCME Local 212 were already well aware of the struggles of those fighting ALS. That’s because Jerry Barcus, a 26 year employee of the City of Sioux City and Local 212 member, has been battling ALS since 2012.

AFSCME Local 212 members had already worked together to build a ramp for Jerry at his home; however, they were still looking for a way they could do more to help fight ALS. With an ALS walk in Sioux City coming up, they decided to come together with management to raise money to fight ALS. AFSCME Local 212 President Chris De Harty and Parks Superintendent Kelly Bach pledged to do the walk twice if $500 could be raised. If $750 could be raised, Parks Superintendent Bach pledged to dye her hair purple for a future city council meeting. Dozens of AFSCME members donated to support the cause.

The walk was held on September 7th in Sioux City and the team consisting of AFSCME Local 212 and management raised $850 to support the fight against ALS! Jerry Barcus completed the ALS Walk in his wheelchair. In addition to Jerry, the following AFSCME Local 212 members and family participated in the walk: Chris De Harty, Jason Williams, Morgan Williams, Teresa Pynn Borchers, Wade Boogerd, Tricia McKean De Harty, and Ron Isaacson. Local 212 also helped provide fun activities for kids who attended the walk, including face painting and a bounce house.

In addition to the walk, several members also donated funds to help fight ALS through the ice bucket challenge.

Local 212 President Chris De Harty said “it was really exciting to see our local membership’s strong support for the fight against ALS. As public employees, we help improve our communities both on the job and outside of work. Our participation in the walk was a great way to show our solidarity with Brother Barcus.”

Jerry Barcus said “I’ve been a union member for decades. I’ve been glad to help my brothers and sisters when they needed help. And now my brothers and sisters have taken time to away from their families to help me and to help fight against ALS. It really shows how no AFSCME member is ever truly alone.”


 

Senator Warren has a message for AFSCME members. While Senator Warren is not on a ballot this November, she reminds us why it’s so important that we get out to vote this fall.


 

September 19, 2014

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the recent discovery of drugs and contraband at the North Central Correctional Facility in Rockwell City:

“Director Baldwin needs to come clean about the effects of low staffing and the lack of sufficient training at Iowa’s correctional facilities. The discovery of approximately 600 pills, four cell phones, and four cell phone chargers at the North Central Correctional Facility represents a failure of Warden Cornell Smith, Director John Baldwin, and Governor Terry Branstad’s correctional policies.

“Since this incident, numerous inmates at the North Central Correctional Facility have tested positive for marijuana. Yet no marijuana has yet been found. So our question for Warden Smith and Director Baldwin is: where is the marijuana?

“For years Director Baldwin and Governor Branstad have claimed Iowa’s correctional facilities are sufficiently staffed. This recent major discovery of contraband once again shows those claims to be false.

“Iowa’s correctional system employees work hard every day to keep us safe. It is my understanding that no employees of the North Central Correctional Facility are responsible for bringing this contraband into the prison. We believe that it was a member of the public which perpetrated this major security breach.

Warden Smith, Director Baldwin, and Governor Branstad need to take responsibility for their policies that have led to low staffing, insufficient training, and this security breach in Rockwell City."

###


 


Danny Homan Remarks at the Nuns on the Bus Rally for the 100%.

September 17, 2014

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan spoke at the Nuns on the Bus Rally for the 100%. His remarks focused on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the need to raise the minimum wage.


 

We will never forget.


 

September 10, 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said of equal pay, "We want it in our law books, and we want in in our checkbooks."

More than 50 years ago, the Equal Pay Act was signed into law. Yet 50 years later, women are still paid 77 cents to the dollar compared to men. And, the pay gap is even worse for women of color.

That's why Senator Mikulski introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act. Because equal work deserves equal pay.

Earlier this year, Senate leaders tried to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, but right-wing senators blocked the bill.

But you have a chance to help make this right.

Today, there will be another vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Your senators need to hear from you. Urge your senators to vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

If you believe that women deserve equality in the workplace, then take action now. Tell your senators to help working families and women.

In solidarity,

LEE SAUNDERS
President

LAURA REYES
Secretary-Treasurer

September 8, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 is proud to support Special Olympics Iowa. In addition to selling $5 support pins to benefit Special Olympics Iowa (contact the Council office at 515-246-1517 to order), we want to let you know about some exciting events to benefit Special Olympics Iowa:

Information about Over the Edge:

This fall you will have the rare opportunity to go “Over the Edge” of a downtown Des Moines high rise with a Ultimate Fighting Champion in September – and it’s all for a great cause.

Iowa native Pat Miletich, who was recently inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, will participate in the fifth annual Special Olympics of Iowa “Over the Edge’ event at the Financial Center on Sept. 17. The event begins at 9 a.m. and continues throughout the day.

Join Pat and dozens of others as they rappel 345 feet down the Financial Center in downtown Des Moines on Wednesday, September 17th! All proceeds go to benefit Special Olympics Iowa and the 12,000+ intellectually disabled athlete citizens that they represent.

Click on the following links to watch videos about Over the Edge:

http://youtu.be/eiGKZJDnpBQ

http://youtu.be/1woXkYEWHqA

Don't want to rappel? TOSS YOUR BOSS!
Your fearless leader will be put to the test when they dangle over the side of a 345 foot building! Start spreading the word and generating excitement in the office so your boss can't say no!

Register today!
http://www.soiowa.org/overtheedge

Information about the Polar Plunge:

Des Moines Polar Plunge Info
November 8, 2014 • Big Creek Beach

Onsite Registration & Sign-in:
9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Plunge: 11:00am

Registration:
Sign up online at http://www.soiowa.org/plunge
Or mail in your form.
**Must register by Oct. 24 to receive a long sleeve plunge
t-shirt or long sleeve chicken t-shirt the day of the event.
All others will receive a shirt at a later date.
Please allow 8-10 weeks for delivery.

More Information:

Click "Read More" to reach a page where you can download fliers with additional information about these events.

I hope that you will be able to support this great cause.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

Read more >>>

September 8, 2014

In February, Jim Payton retired after many years as a proud AFSCME Local 2985 member and correctional officer at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville. Jim helped keep us safe in more ways than one. Not only did he work for many years as a correctional officer – he’s also a veteran.

When Jim saw the poor condition of the seats in the Veterans Memorial Building’s auditorium in Cedar Rapids, he knew he had to find a way to pay tribute to our nation’s veterans by repairing the seats.

Jim worked with other veterans at the Iowa Veterans Welcome Center to get started on the painstaking process of restoring the seats. About half the seats have been repaired so far.

Jim’s work was recently featured in a Cedar Rapids Gazette story and video.

Take a moment to read a bit about the efforts of Jim and his fellow veterans. It will definitely make you feel proud.

September 8, 2014

Dear AFSCME Local Presidents and Recording Secretaries,

We have some exciting news about a new way AFSCME members can show their Union Pride and support some great causes. Last year, we introduced T-Shirts to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. The shirts were quite popular and many members requested more ways that they could support the fight against breast cancer and other worthy causes.

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 is proud to announce that we are selling support pins. The proceeds will go to various charitable efforts. We have four support pins: a pink ribbon to support breast cancer awareness and research, a yellow ribbon to support veterans and their families, a red ribbon to support the Special Olympics of Iowa, and a purple ribbon to support the Workers Memorial.

Pins can be purchased for $5 each.

Click "Read more" in order to reach a page where you can download a flier with a larger image of the support pins.

Individuals or Local Unions can purchase the pins. For questions on ordering, please stop by or contact the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 office.

These are great causes and I strongly encourage AFSCME Iowa Council 61 members to support them.

In Solidarity,

 

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

Read more >>>

September 1, 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As the president of a labor union, many people from outside the labor movement sometimes talk to me about labor unions. One of the things that some people will say to me is that “labor unions used to be really important, but we do not really need them anymore.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the most important accomplishments of the labor movement was the forty hour work week and the weekend. To this day, many union contracts have a strong focus on hours of work, overtime, vacation benefits, and sick leave. That’s because most people I know need some predictability in their work and time off to keep their families strong.

Just the other day, I was given a New York Times story about how many employers are using computerized scheduling systems that essentially treat low wage workers as on call employees. Employees’ hours change every week with little advance notice and workers are often called in to work shifts that are extremely close together, such as one shift ending at 11 PM and another starting at 4 AM. These schedules leave workers stressed out, unable to work forty hours a week even with multiple jobs, and make it very difficult to get ahead in life.

As some of you may know, my daughter recently turned eighteen and joined the workforce. Many of the jobs she works have an on-call nature similar to the ones described in the New York Times article. I have seen the difficulties caused by this sort of scheduling. I fear that if the trend continues and more and more jobs in America become like this, the next generation will struggle and be left with less opportunity and happiness, the middle class will become hollowed out, and the American Dream will slip away from more and more Americans.

I say a strong voice for working people on the job is still needed.

Another accomplishment of organized labor was the creation of America’s middle class. It’s no coincidence that America’s middle class was strongest when unionization was highest. While corporate profits and CEO pay have boomed lately, wages for workers have lagged behind even though worker productivity has grown. Over the last decade, the pay of the typical American worker has been mostly stagnant. And the loss of union strength is one of the major causes of this.

Americans still need unions; in fact, if we want to have a fair and strong economy we need a lot more of them. We need more elected officials that respect workers and support legislation to ensure organizing workers get a fair shake. In addition, as a labor movement, we need to work our tails off organizing new workers. I am proud that AFSCME has been a leader in this area; at our International Convention in Chicago, International President Lee Saunders announced that we smashed our goal of organizing 50,000 new workers by signing up 92,155 new members from January to mid-July.

Labor Day is a holiday that was created to honor the labor of all working men and women, whether they are organized or unorganized. On this Labor Day, tell your friends, your family, and your neighbors that you are a union member and you are proud of it.

Please safely enjoy your Labor Day. Tomorrow, let’s redouble our efforts to build a stronger state and country for ourselves, our families, and all our fellow workers.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61


August 26, 2014

AFSCME International takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - the video includes AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, Steve Fantauzzo, and Jessica Weinstein accepting the challenge issued by AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

It is way past time Congress understood that women's issues are not an afterthought but are of critical importance to the economic health and well-being of our nation.


 

We asked AFSCME members to share their talent on stage at the 41st International Convention and the results were amazing.


 

Read between the lines, because Charles Koch's toxic vision for our country is still evident.


 

Rep. Paul Ryan keeps trotting out the same old plans to shred the U.S. safety net but calls it something else. His most recent scheme to cut anti-poverty programs comes with buzzwords like “innovation” and “flexibility,” but it’s the same tired ideas.


 

Opponents of labor unions were rubbing their hands gleefully earlier this summer when the Supreme Court ruled that home care workers didn't have to pay "fair share" fees. But our union is a testament to the power of collective action.


 

Watch AFSCME member Maricruz Manzanarez's powerful story on why we need immigration reform.


 

In a rousing keynote address at AFSCME's 41st International Convention in Chicago, Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes told the assembled delegates that unions do make a difference. Click through to watch the video highlights.


 

We kicked off the 41st International Convention in Chicago with some big news: our union is 92,155 members stronger today than it was just a few months ago. Watch highlights of Pres. Saunders' speech by clicking through.


 

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that home care and child care providers members were not required to pay fair share dues.


 

July 3, 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Tomorrow is July 4th – Independence Day.

Our Declaration of Independence states our nation’s belief that we all have “certain unalienable Rights” including the rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For 238 years, this has been the ideal that we have sought to live up to.

Living up to this promise has always been a struggle requiring blood, sweat, and tears. We have had to fight on battlefields near and far to protect those rights from external threats. Countless Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen risked everything to protect this ideal. Many gave their lives to defend our freedom – while others came home with wounds to the body, mind, and spirit.

From the very beginning of our country, we have had to struggle to overcome our own failings to live up to the sacred promise to safeguard the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We struggled on the blood soaked battlefields of the Civil War. We struggled on the picket line and in sit-down strikes to gain workers’ rights. We struggled in the marches for civil rights. We struggled in the courts, in the streets, and at the ballot box. Bit by bit, overcoming setbacks, we strove to build a more perfect union that adheres to those very ideals our nation was founded on 238 years ago.

There is still much work to be done. There are some who have forgotten where we came from and have sought to diminish our democracy, our civil rights, and the rights of workers. There are some who wish to stop and reverse our continuing progress in ensuring all Americans are treated with dignity and equality under the law. We must remain vigilant. We must honor the sacrifices of our predecessors by being active citizens and banishing apathy from our thoughts. We must respect those who have sacrificed – by thanking our veterans and all who fought for justice in other ways. We must honor them by continuing to push for justice in all places, whether it is in the work place, in the courts, in our homes, in our values, and in our hearts.

Please have a safe and joyous July 4th. And in this 239th year of our country, let us all make a commitment to do our part to better fulfill the promises of the Declaration of Independence and live our lives in accordance with the fact that all are created equal.

In Solidarity,


Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

Home care and child care workers will continue to stand up for quality care in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn.


 

June 27, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

South Central Iowa Federation of Labor President Mark Cooper sent us a request he received from the National Association of Letter Carriers asking for Iowans to contact their US Representative in support of six day mail delivery.

I urge you to stand in solidarity with the Letter Carriers by contacting your Representative in Congress and urging them to support six day mail delivery.

Here is the contact information for the four US House members from Iowa:

1st District – Bruce Braley: (202) 225-2911
2nd District – Dave Loebsack: (202) 225-6576
3rd District – Tom Latham: (202) 225-5476
4th District – Steve King: (202) 225-4426

Please make sure to call using a personal phone from a non-work location/time.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LETTER CARRIERS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SIX DAY MAIL DELIVERY:

Ending Saturday delivery would do more harm than good by driving away business and revenue. Eliminating delivery services also would hurt every American throughout our country in communities large and small, including senior citizens and small-business owners who rely on Saturday delivery services.

The Postal Service is the largest civilian employer of veterans in the United States. With a workforce that is 25 percent veterans, the loss of 80,000 full- and part-time jobs that would follow the elimination of Saturday delivery would hurt the veterans who are current postal employees as well as the thousands of future veterans who will be seeking civilian employment.

June 23, 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Are you currently pursuing higher education opportunities or plan to do so? I want to make you aware of a new scholarship for AFSCME members, the Gerald W. McEntee Scholarship. This $5,000 scholarship for AFSCME members will go to "the candidate who best exemplifies President McEntee's commitment to strengthening our union through organizing, building political power for working families, defending workers' rights, and supporting public services."

President McEntee was the President of AFSCME for 31 years. During his leadership, AFSCME grew into the union it is today: one of the strongest forces for working people in this country. He was always a friend of AFSCME Iowa Council 61.

To learn more about this scholarship, please visit this website for more information.

Thank you for everything you do on behalf of your brothers and sisters and the people of Iowa.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

Iowa Barnstormers vs. San Jose SaberCats

**PLEASE NOTE CORRECTED DATE - JULY 26TH**

July 26, 2014 - 7:05 PM

Wells Fargo Arena - Des Moines, IA

Special discount for AFSCME only!

Prices for AFSCME Group::

100 Side: $27 (save $3)

100 Corner: $19 (save $3)

100 Endzone: $16 (save $3)

200 Endzone: $10 (save $2)

Call Tony Goldenstein and mention "AFSCME Group" to order: 515-564-8458

Please remember to call using a personal phone from a non-work location/time.

Click "Read more" to reach a page where you can download a flier.

Read more >>>

Click "Read more" to go to our AFSCME Gear Catalog page and to learn how you can order your AFSCME gear! Read more >>>

May 23, 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

On behalf of everyone at AFSCME Iowa Council 61, I would like to wish you a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. I know that many of you are looking forward to spending time at the grill with your families in (hopefully) beautiful weather.

Memorial Day weekend can be so much fun that it can be easy for many folks to lose sight of the true purpose of Memorial Day. There are many Americans who might be with us today had they not paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country: since the beginning of World War II over 500,000 Americans have died in service to the United States. Many Americans gave their lives in places that are still well-remembered such as Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Inchon, Khe Sanh, Fallujah, and Kandahar; others died in places whose names have faded from much of the public’s memory. Each and every one of those brave Americans deserves a commitment from us to honor their memory.

We owe an eternal debt of gratitude to those who have defended our nation. This weekend, please take a moment thank any veterans, current military, military families, and those who have lost a loved one to the cruelties of war. Please remember to always treasure your rights as an American citizen and please remember that our life of Freedom has been brought to you by a Veteran. Those rights were won and defended at very high price by those we honor on Memorial Day.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61
United States Army, October 1971 – August 1973

May 22, 2014

It’s hard to imagine far-right wing political ideology becoming so twisted that one of its standard bearers would step up to a podium and assert poor children are better off going hungry.

Yet when Paul Ryan addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this spring he did just that, bashing progressives for supporting federally funded school lunch programs. He accused those of us, uncomfortable with children going hungry, of offering them “a full belly and an empty soul.”

In service of this deeply troubling belief, he told a story about a boy getting a federally funded school lunch who asked for it in a brown paper bag like his classmates, because that – according to Ryan – meant they had parents who cared about them.

Paul Ryan’s politics dictates that it’s better for a child to go hungry than get help. Paul Ryan’s politics dictates that parents who rely on public assistance don’t care about their children. Paul Ryan’s politics dictates that those who are down on their luck – even children – are soulless, not the Wall Street bankers who crashed our nation’s economy and continue to crush the American middle class, necessitating such assistance in the first place.

It speaks volumes that Ryan's CPAC story wasn't even true. The politician, who was himself something of a serial fibber during his failed 2012 campaign, attributed this brown bag story to a political appointee of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Walker’s appointee testified before Congress last year that she met the boy in the story, which was a lie. She yanked the story out of a book.

Here we have the quintessential right-wing ideologue talking point: It pushes shameful policy, it conveys utter disdain for Americans who find themselves in need of help, and it’s based on a lie.

We don’t need to dig too deeply to figure out why Ryan would tell such a story at CPAC – the conference intended to fire up the ultra-conservative base. He needs the support of his ground troops for a proposed 2014 House budget that cuts billions from federal programs, which fight childhood hunger. That includes a proposed budget cut of $137 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including $63 billion specifically allocated for child nutrition.

It was a red meat speech from the leader of a political movement hell bent on ensuring nothing’s left on the bones for the poor and middle class in our country.

And for anyone who thinks these politicians will blink when it comes time to actually dump children from these nutrition programs, Ryan and his colleagues offer this: Try us.

Last year, their federal sequester eliminated 750,000 mothers and children from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program that provides baby formula for infants and food for children. And the latest reauthorization of school meals only increased funding for school meals by 6 cents, which isn't enough to keep pace with rising food costs and new requirements. Even worse, there was no increase for meals given to children in Head Start and child care programs.

I don't need statistics to tell me how perverse Ryan’s politics of attacking children and their parents is. I know what it’s like to live on the margins in this country. As a single mother making far too little as a home care provider, I once relied on federal assistance programs to help feed my children.

As AFSCME members, we work with children every day – in schools, in day cares, in county and state programs. We see the effects of childhood hunger. We don't see children sent to school by parents who don't care about them. Unlike Ryan, we don't obsess about cutting government at all costs even if it means children going hungry. We figure out how to make government work for everybody, not just the wealthy few.

We see our own children if we’ve ever relied on help to feed them. If we are fortunate to never need such help, we see – and this would really be a stretch for politicians like Ryan – our neighbor’s children and act not out of our own self-interest, but out of the interest of the most vulnerable in our community.

We see that a program ensuring children have full bellies is in fact the heart and soul of America on full display. To see otherwise is perverted politics. To see otherwise is soulless.

EMTs and paramedics suffer three times as many workplace injuries as the national average.


 

May 7, 2014

You can now visit the AFSCME In Our Communities page and learn all about the many community activities of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 members. You can download the booklet, read individual profiles, and look at the large sampling of our members' community activities.

by Carl Hamilton

May 5, 2014

Our elections were held on May 3, 2014 and I would like to announce the new elected members of the AFSCME Local 3289 Community Based Corrections Executive Board; The four Executive Officers and the 8 Chapter Chairs and Recording Secretaries for all 8 districts in the State of Iowa are:

President – Carl Hamilton (out of 7th District)
Vice President- Julie Schultz (out of 6th District)
Treasurer – Candace Acord (out of 6th District)
Recording Secretary – Carrie Hill (out of 5th District)

1st District Chair – Robert Henderson
1st District Rec. Sec. – Roger Oberhauser

2nd District Chair – Julie Brandt
2nd District Rec. Sec. – Tom Larson

3rd District Chair – Paula Barker
3rd District Rec. Sec. – Kaia Downing

4th District Chair – Keith Roemen
4th District Rec. Sec. – Kim Holmes

5th District Chair – Kevin Christensen
5th District Rec. Sec. – Juli Christensen

6th District Chair – To be announced
6th District Rec. Sec. – To be announced

7th District Chair – Sharita Couch
7th District Rec. Sec. – Kendrick Howard

8th District Chair – Robbie Drake
8th District Rec. Sec. – Kelly Price

Trustees –

Barry Allen (out of 6th District)
Robert Morck (out of 1st District)
William Gore (out of 7th District)

Congratulations to all! 6th District officers will be announced after their member meeting/election this week.

PayWatch Raises Awareness about Income Inequality Read more >>>

April 30, 2014

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the event Governor Branstad held today in recognition of Correctional Officers and Employees Week:

"The Governor's Correctional Officers and Employees Week proclamation signing event held today in the Governor's Office was a sham that showed how out of touch the governor is with the day to day concerns of correctional officers and corrections employees.

"The event was attended by the Governor, Lt. Governor, a photographer, four corrections management employees, two employees of a private contractor, and only one correctional officer. So the governor held a Correctional Officers and Employees Week event with one state employee who actually works in a cell house and has daily contact with inmates in a DOC facility.

"If Governor Branstad truly wants to show his appreciation for correctional officers and corrections employees, he would learn about the concerns of the line staff in our correctional facilities and community-based corrections districts rather than relying on the happy talk that comes from his corrections management team. If he truly cared about the state's correctional officers and corrections staff, he would work with us to ensure that all positions inside the state's correctional facilities and in our community-based corrections districts are adequately staffed."

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April 29, 2014

Click here to Read President Danny Homan's column in today's Des Moines Register about protecting the privacy of public employees and their families.

April 22, 2014

Last night, the Colfax-Mingo School Board considered a plan to outsource custodial services at Colfax-Mingo Schools. The plan failed because no school board member would second the motion!

AFSCME members worked hard to stop this outsourcing proposal: they attended multiple school board meetings, called school board members, and collected petition signatures from the public.

Thank you to the many AFSCME members who successfully fought this outsourcing proposal.

Colfax-Mingo students, parents, teachers, and staff can rest assured knowing they will continue to have experienced and trusted custodial staff in their schools.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The strength of our union is our members. Organizing is essential to maintaining and growing our membership. Internal organizing (signing up non-members we already represent) is a top priority of the International Union and AFSCME Iowa Council 61.The International Union recently kicked off a major organizing initiative – 50,000 Strong. The goal is sign up 50,000 new members nationwide by the International Convention in July.

We must continue to grow our membership here in Iowa. Employers think twice before considering outsourcing when they are confronted by a strong, united, and highly organized union. In order to push back against those who want to eliminate our rights, our jobs, and our benefits, we need a strong and active membership.

We will be holding three Volunteer Member Organizer (VMO) Conferences in April, May, and June:

Des Moines: April 25 – 27 (AFSCME Iowa Council 61 Office)

Iowa City: May 16 – 18 (Holiday Inn Coralville, 1220 First Avenue, Coralville, IA 52241)

Cedar Falls/Waterloo: June 20 – 22 (Clarion Inn University Plaza, 5826 University Avenue, Cedar Falls, IA 50613)

Registration starts on Friday at 8 am for all three conferences. All three conferences will end at noon on Sunday.

RSVP to Andrew Williams – awilliams@afscmeiowa.org or 800-372-6054 x. 625 – use a personal e-mail/phone/computer from a non-work location/time.

The purpose of these conferences is to give members the skills and support they need to organize their own locals. Each conference starts on Friday morning where members will learn about the most effective ways to recruit new members. On Friday evening and all of Saturday, VMOs will sharpen their recruitment skills by making home visits to non-member state employees in the area. On Sunday, we will do a recap and work with you to plan out the next steps for your local.

Thank you in advance for your help with this important initiative.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

New AFSCME campaign will grow the union by 50,000 members before the 2014 Convention in July. Read more >>>

April 8, 2014

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day that represents when women have put in enough extra work "to catch up to what men will make in a year" due to the gender wage gap. Yesterday, Think Progress had a very informative article about Equal Pay Day. Earlier this year, Think Progress posted another article showing how unionization is a strong force for reducing the gender wage gap. You can also read International President Lee Saunders' statement on Equal Pay Day: Our Mothers, Wives and Daughters Deserve Equal Pay for Equal Work.

April 3, 2014

Today, the governor signed Senate File 2320 into law. This legislation helps ensure that individual CDAC (consumer directed attendant care) remains an option for Iowans. Thank you to everyone who contacted the Governor's Office to urge the governor to sign the bill.

March 28, 2014

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding Warren County’s decision to layoff county employees, including custodial and engineering employees represented by AFSCME Iowa Council 61, and to outsource the work done by those employees:

“It is shameful that Warren County government has surprised its hard working employees with this outsourcing and layoff plan.

“The development of this plan was kept under wraps and not revealed until the last minute. The employees and our union were asked for our input only after all of the decisions were essentially a done deal. Instead of seeking input and working in a collaborative manner with the employees and their union to do what is best for Warren County, these plans were developed in secret.

“Once this work is outsourced to for-profit corporations, the county will lose direct control over work done on behalf of the public. The priority will be on profit, not providing the highest quality work for the people of Warren County.

“These actions will eliminate good jobs and shrink the size of the middle class in Warren County.”

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The newest issue of the Iowa Unionist, AFSCME Iowa Council 61's newsletter, is available for download. Click "Read More" to reach the download page. Read more >>>

At a special convention in Waterloo on Saturday, March 1st, delegates representing AFSCME Iowa Council 61 locals in District 4 elected Connie Schlesky to fill a District Vice President at-large seat. Connie is a member of AFSCME Local 2984 and works as a Residential Treatment Worker (RTW) at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. Connie has been an RTW for six years and was an LPN at the Veterans Home for eight years prior. She is a member of the Local 2984 executive board and will become the Local 2984 Treasurer in April. Connie is excited about joining the executive board and getting to work on behalf of her AFSCME sisters and brothers.

NEWTON – On Wednesday, March 5th, AFSCME Local 0451 donated $2,500 towards a veteran’s monument that will be placed on the courthouse square in Newton. The monument will honor fallen veterans.

“It is important to honor our fallen veterans. This monument will help ensure that future generations of Jasper County residents never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country,” said AFSCME Local 0451 President Jerry Jones.

Included with this release is a photo of the check presentation for the donation. Included in the photo are AFSCME Local 0451 President Jerry Jones, Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop, AFSCME Local 0451 members, and members of the Veterans’ Committee of Jasper County.

Every Jasper County resident that was killed in action will be placed on the memorial at no charge. The project is being led by Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop. No public funds are being used for the project.

In Iowa, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees and private sector employees. AFSCME Local 0451 represents employees at the Newton Correctional Facility and at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, which are part of the Iowa Department of Corrections.

February 18, 2014

CORALVILLE – Today AFSCME Local 2985 presented a $775 donation to the Iowa Veterans Welcome Center in Cedar Rapids in an event at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.

“We owe a debt of a gratitude to every veteran. We hope that our donation will help the Center further its cause of Veterans helping Veterans by providing ongoing outreach, activity services, and supplying resource information as veterans continue to adjust to civilian life,” said AFSCME Local 2985 President Marty Hathaway.

In photo from left to right (click "read more" below to visit a page with a larger photo): Jim Payton (AFSCME Local 2985 member and veteran), Chad Sauser (AFSCME Local 2985 member and veteran), Marty Hathaway (AFSCME Local 2985 President), Roger Wiest (Iowa Veterans Welcome Center President), and Jay Kaiser (Iowa Veterans Welcome Center Vice President).

AFSCME Local 2985’s memorial fund was started many years ago by the membership. When a family member of a member passes away, the local puts $25.00 dollars into the fund and at the end of the year the local looks for an organization to donate the money to in the names of the people that passed away that year so that their memory can live on.

In Iowa, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees and private sector employees. AFSCME Local 2985 represents employees at the Iowa Medical & Classification Center, which is part of the Iowa Department of Corrections.

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Read more >>>

CEDAR RAPIDS – Today, the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 PEOPLE Committee and Teamsters Locals 90, 120, 238, and 554 announced their endorsement of Jack Hatch for Governor.

“Jack Hatch is the leader that we need in order to build a better Iowa – an Iowa with a strong and growing middle class. With a record of success in both the private sector and the public sector, Jack will bring Iowans together to create real opportunity for Iowa families,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“Jack has always been there for the working men and women of Iowa and now we are here for him. Terry Branstad has been in office for too long and he is coasting. Jack is the change we need in Terrace Hill,” said Teamsters Local 238 Secretary-Treasurer Gary Dunham.

“I am honored to have the endorsements of AFSCME and the Teamsters. AFSCME members are working every day in our communities to keep us safe, protect the most vulnerable, and make our communities run on a day to day basis. Teamsters are a powerful force in Iowa and represent a wide array of Iowa workers. Iowans know we can do better than Terry Branstad’s status quo. Together, we are united in our goal to build a better Iowa,” said gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch.

AFSCME is known for its political action program which is financed with voluntary contributions. The program supplies grassroots volunteers for AFSCME-endorsed candidates.

In Iowa, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees and private sector employees.

Teamsters Locals 90, 120, 238, and 554 represent over 15,000 current members and retirees throughout the state of Iowa.

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Last month’s employment figures are in, and things don’t look good. Read more >>>

February 5, 2014

DES MOINES – Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding Polk County District Court Judge Scott D. Rosenberg’s ruling and order on the plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction and defendants’ motion to dismiss in Homan et al. v. Branstad et al.:

“We are pleased that the court has sided with the plaintiffs by opening the Iowa Juvenile Home. Iowa’s young girls are the real winners in this decision.

“For the sake of the safety of Iowa’s children, the governor should immediately comply with this court order and reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home as instructed by the District Court.”

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Click "Read More" to reach a page where you can download a copy of the ruling.

Read more >>>

by Olivia Sandbothe

Low-wage workers in certain federally funded jobs will see a much-needed pay increase, thanks to President Obama.

Read more >>>

RIP Pete Seeger. Thank you for giving voice to solidarity, for your strong support of unions, and for all your great music. You will be greatly missed.

Click here to read Pete Seeger's obituary in the LA Times.

January 24, 2014

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding information that was reported in today’s Dubuque Telegraph-Herald regarding Health Dimensions Group, which has a contract pending before the Dubuque County Board of Supervisors:

“It is shocking that the Dubuque County Supervisors would even consider hiring a company with the record of Health Dimensions Group (HDG) to analyze Sunnycrest Manor, especially at a cost of $170,000. As managers of numerous health care facilities, HDG has a financial interest in recommending outsourcing. Their own website, which contains a pro-outsourcing position paper, demonstrates a clear bias towards outsourcing the operation of public facilities like Sunnycrest Manor.

“Furthermore, the facilities they currently manage have an appalling record on average according to information from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website. In contrast, Sunnycrest has excellent ratings from the same website. The only thing HDG should be analyzing at Sunnycrest is how they could copy Sunnycrest and improve the quality of their own facilities.

“The residents of Sunnycrest and the taxpayers of Dubuque County deserve better.”

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January 17, 2014

DES MOINES – Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement regarding a recent audit showing mismanagement and inappropriate spending by the former director of the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and some members of his management team:

“I want to make clear that these inappropriate expenditures and mismanagement were made by the former district director and some of his management employees. This inappropriate spending was not made by, nor did it benefit, the district’s front line staff (bargaining unit members). In spite of mismanagement and understaffing, the community-based corrections non-management staff work tirelessly and with dedication to help prepare offenders to fully rejoin society.

“Director Baldwin needs to own up to his failures in oversight. The only thing rogue about this agency was the actions of the former district director and some of his management. Director Baldwin knew about mismanagement by the district director long before he asked for the State Auditor to step in and investigate. He even publicly admitted that this latest issue was not the first time problems had arisen. Director Baldwin and Governor Branstad must make clear that it was the managers who failed to uphold the public trust, not the front-line employees (bargaining unit staff) who are actually doing the work to make this state a safer place to live.”

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January 3, 2014

The Regional Office of the US Department of Health and Human Services has released some informational handouts for individuals purchasing health insurance through the online marketplace. Click “Read More” to view the full list of handouts. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you may know who is purchasing health insurance through the online marketplace.

Read more >>>

January 2, 2014

DES MOINES – Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan, Senator Jack Hatch, Senator Steve Sodders, Representative Mark Smith, and Representative Pat Murphy filed suit in the Iowa District Court for Polk County to stop Governor Branstad’s closure of the Iowa Juvenile Home.

The lawsuit, which was filed against Governor Terry Branstad and DHS Director Charles Palmer, seeks an injunction to prevent the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home.

“The legislature passed and the governor signed into law legislation that provides funding for the operation of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo in both Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015. We believe it is unconstitutional and unlawful for the governor to close the Juvenile Home and disregard legislation that was passed by the Iowa House and Iowa Senate and signed into law by him,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“Throughout Governor Branstad’s time in office, he has demonstrated a pattern of blaming others for his decisions. He has refused to accept responsibility for the mismanagement of the Iowa Juvenile Home by his managers. He has tried to claim that the decision to close the home was a result of the Iowa Juvenile Home Protection Task Force’s recommendations. However, the task force’s report contains no such recommendation to close the Juvenile Home,” added Homan.

“Over the past few weeks, the public has heard many testimonials from girls who resided at the Iowa Juvenile Home. These testimonials show how the staff of the Juvenile Home has made a positive difference in the lives of countless troubled Iowa youth. This lawsuit will hopefully allow the staff to be able to continue to carry on this important mission,” added Homan.

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents many of the employees at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. Across the state, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public and private sector employees.

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December 17, 2013

By a vote of 233 to 103, employees in the State of Iowa’s education bargaining unit voted to be represented by AFSCME Iowa Council 61. The results of the mail ballot election were announced by the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board today. It is the largest bargaining unit election won by AFSCME Iowa Council 61 since the 1990s.

Education unit employees include teachers in state institutions, librarians, workers who assist disabled Iowans in obtaining services and benefits, workers who assist school districts in designing curricula and improving special education and school lunch services, and many other employees.

The State of Iowa’s education bargaining unit dates back to the beginning of Iowa’s public employee collective bargaining law in the 1970s. However, until now, the unit had remained without union representation.

Education unit employees saw the benefits of having a seat at the bargaining table and having a voice in determining their pay, benefits, and working conditions. Several education unit employees contacted AFSCME Iowa Council 61 about organizing. Council 61 organizers and International organizers worked closely with these volunteer leaders to reach out to hundreds of state employees in person. These efforts made a difference vote by vote and signed green card by signed green card.

Today, the results of all that hard work are apparent. Please welcome our new sisters and brothers in the State of Iowa education unit!

Iowa City is considering outsourcing public employee jobs!

We need to pack the house at the next city council meeting!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
7:00 PM
City Hall - Harvat Hall
410 E. Washington, Iowa City, IA

We need to stand together in solidarity with our AFSCME brothers and sisters.

Iowa City refuse/recycling workers were rated very highly in the last customer satisfaction survey.

The city is considering outsourcing many of their jobs to a for-profit corporation with very little track record and an experimental trash to fuel process.

So far this proposal has been moving along quickly and without extensive public input.

Please make your voice heard on December 17th!

December 9, 2013

DES MOINES –Today, the Branstad Administration announced its secretive decision to close the Iowa Juvenile Home and outsource the services the Juvenile Home provides to some of Iowa’s most troubled youth.

“We are shocked to hear the Governor’s office has taken this course of action. Many groups have been working together to solve the issues at the Iowa Juvenile Home. Not only is this a sad day for the workers, but it is a sad day for the Iowa’s troubled youth displaced because of the Governor's actions,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“The troubled youth at the Juvenile Home deserved a truly open decision making process that sought a dialogue with all Iowans, including legislators. The students at the Juvenile Home deserved an honest and public discussion about how the students will receive assistance in the future. Governor Branstad’s closed door decision making process failed to live up to these principles and the Governor’s pledge for transparency in state government,” added Homan.

Juvenile Home employees have and continue to be willing partners in addressing the failures of management policies at the Juvenile Home.

“Our members and our union will continue to advocate for troubled youth and for the state’s responsibility to see them through their difficult times,” said Homan.

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By Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61

August 29, 2013

Over the past several weeks, a powerful bipartisan alliance of Home Care Providers represented by AFSCME Iowa Council 61 and home care consumers showed the true power of grassroots efforts. Iowa’s individual consumer-directed attendant care (CDAC) providers faced elimination, but worked together to turn the tide. In Iowa, individual CDAC, which lets consumers control their own care, is the most popular choice of home care consumers by far: over 4,500 Iowa consumers have chosen it.

The Iowa Department of Human Services proposed an administrative rule that would have eliminated the individual CDAC option. Consumers would have been forced to use an agency or partner with a financial institution. Individual CDAC providers would have lost their jobs.

N. Jean Hayes of Waterloo, Iowa, an AFSCME Local 1100 member and an individual CDAC provider from Waterloo, Iowa, told AFSCME how essential her work is to her client:

"My client, who is legally blind, depends on me to take her to her appointments, to keep her home clean and in order, to cook, to fill her syringes with medication, and to take her to church. I enjoy making a difference for her by making it possible for her to live in her home."

In order for the rule to go into effect, it had to go before the Administrative Rules Review Committee of the Iowa General Assembly, a committee consisting of five Republicans and five Democrats from the Iowa House and Iowa Senate.

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 immediately began to mobilize home care providers and consumers. Town Hall meetings were held across the state. Thousands of calls were made and doors knocked to organize a grassroots campaign. Home Care Providers and their clients made waves and waves of calls to the legislators on the committee, winning support from both Democratic and Republican legislators.

With bipartisan support for the individual CDAC providers and their consumers growing by the day, the Iowa Department of Human Services terminated the rule making process for this rule on August 28th.

This decision represents a major victory for individual CDAC providers, their consumers, and the bipartisan coalition we built that stood up for some of the most vulnerable Iowans. We will continue our efforts to be strong voice that protects providers and their consumers.

July 22, 2013

Brad Anderson Endorsed for Iowa Secretary of State

DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) PEOPLE Committee is proud to announce that it has endorsed Pat Murphy for Congress in the 1st Congressional District, Congressman Dave Loebsack for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District, Staci Appel for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District, Jim Mowrer for Congress in the 4th Congressional District, and Brad Anderson for Iowa Secretary of State.

“Pat Murphy is a champion for middle class Iowans. Pat is committed to protecting Iowans’ civil rights and labor rights – and has the record to prove it. Pat’s history matters greatly to our Union. As Speaker of the House, he was a driving force in expanding Iowa’s non-discrimination laws. He has consistently stood up for worker’s rights and protecting the public services our communities rely on. Working families will always be able to count on Pat Murphy,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“Dave Loebsack has served his constituents well. He has worked tirelessly to help his district recover from devastating flooding and stood up for Social Security and the many Iowa seniors who rely on Social Security for retirement security. AFSCME Iowa PEOPLE Committee is proud to recommend Congressman Loebsack’s reelection,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“Iowans need Staci Appel in Washington. Her work in the Iowa Senate demonstrates that she knows how to improve the efficiency of government in a fair way that listens to the concerns of all. Staci Appel is someone who listens, learns, and unlike so many in the current US House Majority does not rush to judgment. Staci would be a breath of fresh air in Washington,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“Jim Mowrer has strong Iowa values. His service to his country in Iraq and at the Pentagon shows that he doesn’t just talk about the Iowa values of service, commitment, and honor – he lives them. Iowans will be proud to have Jim Mowrer represent them in Congress,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

“Brad Anderson will protect one of our most treasured rights – the right to vote. He knows how important it is to make voting accessible and fair for Iowa citizens. Unlike the incumbent Secretary of State, Brad will focus on civic engagement, modernize the Office of Secretary of State, and will never waste hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on partisan investigations,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

AFSCME is known for its political action program which is financed with voluntary contributions. The program supplies grassroots volunteers for AFSCME-endorsed candidates.

In Iowa, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers. AFSCME Iowa also represents home health care and child care providers across the state and private sector workers at Prairie Meadows, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Des Moines University, ABM (Marshalltown), and Abbe Center.

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March 13, 2013

Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) PEOPLE Committee endorsed Bruce Braley for US Senate.

“Bruce Braley has been a good friend of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 since before his election to the US House in 2006. At the US Capitol, he consistently stands up for and protects middle class Iowans. Bruce Braley is a common sense legislator who shares a dedication to hard work with the members of AFSCME Iowa. AFSCME Iowa members know that Bruce Braley will make a great US Senator,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

AFSCME is known for its political action program which is financed with voluntary contributions. The program supplies grassroots volunteers for AFSCME-recommended candidates. AFSCME Iowa Council 61 is the largest public employee union in Iowa, and represents workers in all 99 counties.

We're Your Community. We're Your Neighbors.

AFSCME Iowa Council 61
4320 NW Second Ave, Des Moines IA 50313
Phone and Fax: 515-246-1517 or (800)-372-6054 or 515-244-6467 (fax)

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