|AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Everyday. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.|
December 3, 2013
Today, AFSCME Local 1868 Polk County Employees President Todd Copley and Administrative Assistant Amanda Tyler dropped off their local's contribution to Toys for Tots. "We are so glad to bring holiday joy to the children across Central Iowa. Our members are excited about participating in Toys for Tots," said Copley.
Click "Read More" to read the full story and view a larger picture.Read more >>>
November 27, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Click "Read More" to reach the download page. Check out the many AFSCME Iowa photos in this issue! Read more >>>
Click "read more" to read this column by Pat McCauley (Local 183) from the Holidays 2013 issue of the Iowa Unionist. Read more >>>
November 11, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Veterans Day has its origins in Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War One, the so-called War to End All Wars, which ended on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 in the morning in the fall of 1918.
Unfortunately, World War One was not the War to End All Wars. Like the veterans of World War One and those wars that preceded it, there have been many more conflicts where millions of Americans have been called upon to defend freedom. Even in peace time, millions of Americans have served honorably in order to protect the peace.
War is not a romantic thing; war itself is not something to be proud of. Our pride is not for war itself, but for those who have fought it on our behalf. It is precisely because war is hell that we must honor those Americans who have put everything on the line to protect our freedom, our rights, our homes, and our safety.
We owe America’s veterans and active duty military so much more than a debt of gratitude. They deserve assistance from the moment they set foot back on American soil until the moment when they leave this existence.
This Veterans Day take a moment to reflect on the reason for this holiday. Reflect on how this day and our nation would not exist if not for countless Americans who made sacrifices to protect us and every generation of Americans who preceded us.
November 8, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement regarding the escape of David Leroy Kreider from a Sioux City work-release facility on Thursday, November 7th:
“Mr. Kreider’s escape is yet another sign that Governor Branstad and Director Baldwin’s inmate classification system is broken and endangers the public. Mr. Kreider was convicted of a violent crime and was placed on work release. After escaping from work release in July 2012, he was put back in a work release program and has now escaped again.
“In order to avoid addressing severe understaffing in our prisons, the governor and corrections director are pushing inmates into community-based corrections, which are also understaffed, before those inmates are ready.
“Escapes from work release facilities are currently common place. Since the beginning of September, there have been at least ten reported escapes from work-release facilities in Waterloo, Des Moines (two escapes), West Union, Fort Dodge, Davenport, Ottumwa (three escapes), and Sioux City.
“Similar escapes from work-release facilities occurred in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Waterloo and Davenport during months prior to September. The escape of a Clarinda Correctional Facility inmate led to a sheriff’s deputy being shot, a couple being taken hostage, and the inmate’s death.
“Governor Branstad and Director Baldwin’s classification and staffing policies are endangering Iowans. Iowa’s corrections staff are working hard to protect Iowans but are being let down by the governor and the corrections director. Branstad and Baldwin’s failure to change these policies is highly irresponsible and a breach of their duty to protect Iowans.”
Background - Escapes from Work Release Facilities since the beginning of September:
David Leroy Kreider escaped from a Sioux City Work Release Facility on 11/7/2013
October 30, 2013
DES MOINES – Today, the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 PEOPLE Committee announced its endorsement of Tyler Olson for Governor. AFSCME members joined Representative Olson for an announcement in Des Moines at AFSCME Iowa Council 61’s Union Hall.
“We are proud to endorse Tyler Olson’s candidacy for Governor. AFSCME members were impressed by Tyler’s commitment to strengthen and grow Iowa’s middle class. We know that he will bring Iowans together and focus on making sure that all Iowans have the opportunity to achieve and maintain the American Dream,” said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President and PEOPLE Committee Chair Danny Homan.
“We were also impressed by the strong campaign organization that his campaign is building. We know that Tyler Olson is the candidate who will end the divisive politics of Terry Branstad by winning on Election Day,” added Homan.
"AFSCME has an incredible track record of standing up for middle class Iowa families and I am proud to have its members' support. I share AFSCME's commitment to fighting for middle class families across the state and look forward to working with them and all Iowans ready to move our great state forward," said Tyler Olson, candidate for Governor.
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, and ABM (Marshalltown).
October 15, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding Governor Branstad’s plan to keep the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum open:
“As an Iowa veteran myself, I understand the importance of the heritage represented by the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.
“However, the shutdown is having an impact on state government that exceeds the impact to the museum. Nearly two hundred state employees working at the Iowa Department of Public Defense (Iowa National Guard) and Iowa Workforce Development are on temporary layoff with no guarantee that they will be made financially whole. That means that right now nearly two hundred Iowa families are trying to figure out how they will pay their bills despite the loss of income through no fault of their own.
“The safety of Iowans has been imperiled by the shutdown as there now only three Iowa OSHA officers left for the entire state.
“On Monday, the Governor said we need to prevent ‘stupid things’ from happening as result of the shutdown. Given the state’s billion dollar surplus, I call on the Governor find a way to put Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa National Guard employees back to work.”
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND NATIONAL GUARD LAYOFFS: IS THIS WHAT CONGRESSMEN LATHAM AND KING REALLY WANT?
October 4, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the layoffs of 69 Iowa Workforce Development employees and 111 Iowa Department of Public Defense (Iowa National Guard) workers due to the shutdown:
“The consequences of these layoffs are appalling. At Iowa Workforce Development these layoffs will result in only three people being left to respond to work place fatalities and injuries for our entire state. Work places will be less safe, which will result in more dangerous accidents on the job. Job assistance for veterans is also being heavily impacted by these layoffs. Workforce Development employees working in information technology and labor market information are also being laid off and will face financial hardship.
“At the Iowa Department of Public Defense, hardworking maintenance workers, custodial workers, and others are receiving layoff notices. These laid-off state workers, along with a thousand furloughed federal employees of the Iowa National Guard, are facing severe financial stress on their families.
“I have to ask Congressmen Latham and King if their plan to hold the federal government hostage is really worth it. Do Congressman Latham and Congressman King really want to continue to compromise worker safety, fail to honor our veterans, and threaten the economic security of public employees and their families? I strongly urge them to do the responsible thing and end this insanity before it causes any more damage to Iowa communities.”
THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IS ALREADY HURTING IOWA FAMILIES BY SHUTTING DOWN PARTS OF IOWA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND PARTS OF THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC DEFENSE
October 3, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the effect of the federal government shutdown on state government and Iowa families:
“As a result of the government shutdown, employees of Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Public Defense (Iowa National Guard) are being sent home without pay. I am aware of 69 Iowa Workforce Development employees and 111 Iowa Department of Public Defense (Iowa National Guard) employees who are being sent home.
“Iowa Workforce Development employees promote economic growth in our state by assisting workers and businesses. So in addition to the shutdown hurting our Iowa economy by sending these employees home to their families without pay, important services that Iowans rely on are not being performed because of the shutdown caused by an extreme faction of US House Republicans.
“Employees of the Iowa National Guard, both military and civilian, keep our state safe through both their service abroad and their work in defense of Iowa during natural disasters. It is absolutely shameful that they are being treated this way due to the actions of an extreme faction of the Republican Party in the US House of Representatives.
“Some Republicans in the US House are beginning to see that House Republicans’ demands are simply not reasonable. Representatives King and Latham should join them. Congressman Latham and Congressman King need to take their jobs seriously and stop supporting their political party’s plan that holds the operations of the federal government hostage to unreasonable demands that the American people opposed at the ballot box last November.”
LOOMING SHUTDOWN WILL HARM IOWANS: REPRESENTATIVES LATHAM AND KING NEED TO START PUTTING IOWANS, NOT POLITICS, FIRST
September 30, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the looming government shutdown:
“A federal government shutdown will hurt Iowa families. A shutdown will lead to delays in military pay, unpaid furloughs of up to 9,000 federal employees in Iowa, and a delay in small business loans in Iowa. With many federal agencies still working though the details of a shutdown, a shutdown could also prevent new seniors from receiving Social Security checks, delay veterans benefits, and close Head Start centers that educate 8,133 children in Iowa.
“Federal funding plays a key role in many aspects of state and local government operations, especially the Iowa National Guard. While the exact impacts of a shutdown on state and local governments in Iowa are not yet completely clear, a shutdown will undoubtedly harm public employees and their families and harm all Iowa communities which rely on the public services those employees provide.
“A government shutdown will seriously harm our state and national economies. Congressman Latham and Congressman King need to take their jobs seriously and stop supporting their political party’s plan that holds the operations of the federal government hostage to unreasonable demands that the American people opposed at the ballot box last November.”
To download a fact sheet on how a federal government shutdown would hurt Iowa, click "read more" and then download the fact sheet listed under "additional resources."
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September 27, 2013
CORALVILLE – Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 and AFSCME Local 2985 held an informational picket outside of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center to raise awareness of critically low corrections staffing levels in Iowa’s corrections system, including staffing levels at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center.
During the picket, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan addressed the recent comments of the Governor’s spokesman, Tim Albrecht, who misleadingly tried to deflect blame on to the Governor’s predecessor and absurdly claimed that the picket would have a negative effect on security.
“In 2009, there was 583 staff at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. In 2010, the last year of Governor Branstad’s predecessor’s term, staffing declined by 28. In 2011, Governor Branstad’s first year of his current term, staffing declined by a further 29 staff. After increasing by only 8 in 2012, this year it fell by 7 to a total 527. So staffing has fallen significantly here since Governor Branstad took office,” said Homan.
“This did not just happen, it was decision made by Governor Branstad. The state has a massive surplus and can afford to increase staffing to a safer level. In fact, the General Assembly has consistently passed funding to hire additional corrections staff across the state, yet the Governor and Director Baldwin refused to fill all of the positions,” added Homan.
Noting that the Governor is in the third year of his term, Homan said “Governor Branstad is responsible for the staffing situation today. Period.”
Regarding the baseless allegation that today’s picket would undermine security, Homan said “inmates are quite aware of staffing levels. Inmates observe staffing levels every day. Inmates don’t need to learn staffing levels from the media, all they have to do to learn staffing levels is look around.”
AFSCME Local 2985 President Marty Hathaway spoke about the strain that understaffing is having on employees at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center.
“Staff and their families are worried. They know that our prison is not even close to having the level of safety and security it should,” said Hathaway.
“We have 18 less nurses than we had in 2009. Given the Iowa Medical and Classification Center's major role in housing inmates with physical and mental health issues, this shortage is particularly disturbing. The shortage of nursing staff has gotten so severe that it has often become nearly impossible for our nurses to get a single vacation day off to spend time with their families,” said Hathaway.
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 Local 2985 represents employees at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, which is part of the Iowa Department of Corrections.
September 20, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The 2013 – 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State of Iowa and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 61 AFL-CIO (State Master Contract) has been approved for printing.
Additionally, the 2013 – 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Judicial Branch of Iowa has been approved for printing. The contract books are currently in the process of being produced by the printer.
The Council Office is reaching out to your local union leadership to work with them to determine the best method to distribute the contract books for your local.
Danny Homan, President
September 2, 2013
WHO-TV's "Three Minutes in the Chair" segment on Sunday evening featured AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.
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.
AFSCME IOWA: CLARINDA INMATE'S ESCAPE SYMPTOMATIC OF DIRECTOR BALDWIN’S BROKEN INMATE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM
AFSCME Iowa Council 61 calls for Director Baldwin’s Resignation
August 20, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the escape of Rodney Eugene Long from Clarinda Correctional Facility on Friday:
“First, I would like to extend the thoughts and prayers of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 members to Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Wyckoff and his family. Deputy Wyckoff, who was shot by Rodney Long on Sunday, is a public employee who puts his life on the line to protect the public. We wish him a speedy recovery.
“This morning Inmate Long was shot and killed by one of the residents of a home in rural Bedford. He was killed after holding hostage the couple who lived there.
“The shooting of Deputy Wyckoff, the danger law enforcement and the public we exposed to, and the death of inmate Long are a direct result of the Director of Corrections and the Governor’s ill-thought out policies and procedures. The understaffing of the state institutions is at a critical stage and needs to be corrected
“It is time for Director John Baldwin to resign and for the Governor to work with legislators to fix the staffing issues in our correctional system.
“Friday’s escape is a symptom of Director Baldwin and the Branstad Administration’s lack of common sense staffing and inmate classification policies. Director Baldwin has refused to acknowledge the severe understaffing in the State of Iowa’s correctional system. Instead, he has reconfigured the inmate classification system to quickly and recklessly push more inmates towards less secure settings or towards parole.
“Rodney Long, a repeat offender and an offender that had his probation revoked, was transferred from a medium security facility to a minimum security live out facility after only a short period of time. The combination of offenders being pushed into lower security facilities and correctional understaffing is a dangerous combination.
“The Department is pushing to lower the prison population when it is not safe to do so. In addition to pushing inmates into lower security correctional facilities, the Department is pushing inmates to work release and parole in an unsafe manner. This has resulted in numerous inmates walking away from community based corrections facilities. Examples of this include Eric Allen Shaffer (Burlington Work Release Facility on 8/14/2013), John Joseph Rosales Brown (Larry Nelson Work Release Center in Cedar Rapids on 8/3/2013), Michael E. Hannum (Council Bluffs work release facility on 8/3/2013), Osvaldo Guerra Jr. (Fort Des Moines work release facility on 4/2/2013), Marco Johnson (Waterloo work-release center on 3/20/2013), Roger Romero Clayton (Davenport halfway house on 2/1/2013; Mr. Clayton also escaped from a halfway house in 2012 as well), and Corey Dewitt (Fort Des Moines work release facility on 12/4/2012).
“The situation in Iowa’s correctional system is critical and must be dealt with immediately.”
AFSCME IOWA COUNCIL 61: GOVERNOR BRANSTAD AND DHS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY ACCEPT OFFER OF STAFF TRAINING FOR IOWA JUVENILE HOME
August 15, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement concerning the need for additional staff training at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo and Governor Branstad’s comments regarding privatization of the Home:
“Governor Branstad and the Iowa Department of Human Services should immediately accept the offer of free staff training from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. This organization is highly regarded and deals with other similarly-situated public facilities. Accepting their offer of assistance should be a common sense decision for this Administration.
“I want to thank the staff of the Iowa Juvenile Home. They are committed and work very hard to turn around the lives of children who truly need assistance. Much of their hard work may not make it into media reports, but I know that staff truly cares about the home’s residents. The frontline staff has no control over management decisions and the amount of training they receive.
“The Governor’s interest in privatizing the home is misguided and an attempt to avoid accountability for the failures of the Iowa Juvenile Home management and Department of Human Services leadership. The use of ‘isolation rooms’ was a decision made by the management of the Iowa Juvenile Home. If Director Palmer was not aware of their use, he should have been.
“Iowans need accountable leadership at the Iowa Juvenile Home and Department of Human Services. Hiring an outside contractor to run the home would diminish public control and oversight.
“The record of privatizing juvenile facilities in this country is a poor one. For-profit facilities put profits ahead of children and even non-profit facilities lack the accountability that comes from being directly overseen by representatives of our elected leaders. Privatized facilities have little incentive to rehabilitate youths: doing so would reduce their revenue.
Some examples of the dangers of privatized facilities include:
• In Pennsylvania, the developer of a privatized juvenile detention facility bribed two judges to divert children to his facility.
“Furthermore, privately run services are often considered out of sight, out of mind by elected officials, which leads to decreased funding and eventual elimination of services as seen most recently at Abbe Center.
“We call on the Branstad Administration and Department of Human Services leadership to immediately accept the offer of free training by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Furthermore, they should drop proposals to privatize the home and diminish the Administration’s accountability for the manner in which the facility is run.”
CNN Website, 2/24/2009
Southern Poverty Law Center Website, 5/3/2012:
The Summer 2013 Iowa Unionist is now available for download. Read more >>>
July 31, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement concerning today’s announcement that Abbe Center for Community Care, Inc., where AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents employees, would close on September 30, 2013:
“Today’s news is devastating news for the residents of Abbe Center, their families, and the employees of Abbe Center. Since 1987, Abbe Center has provided exceptional transitional and residential services to adults with mental illness in Linn County.
“The closing of Abbe Center will disrupt the lives of 77 residents who will be forced to relocate. The closing will cost 80 employees their jobs. The local economy will suffer as $2,262,000 in payroll is wiped out.
“This closing shows the consequences of Governor Branstad’s misguided priorities that are harming Iowa’s communities. In June, Governor Branstad item vetoed $13 million for mental health services from House File 648. These funds would have allowed the Iowa Department of Human Services to award funds to counties to maintain services during the mental health transition. These funds could have helped keep Abbe Center open and providing mental health services to the community.
“The Governor’s veto is all the more unconscionable when you consider that the state has a massive cash surplus and that Governor Branstad has championed spending hundreds of millions of state, local, and federal dollars on a fertilizer plant that will create only 165 permanent jobs.
“At the time of the Governor’s item-veto, Senator Rob Hogg of Linn County said that ‘Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Legislature created a $13 million dollar safety net. The goal was to insure that every person who needs mental health services receives those services so future tragedies would be prevented […] Governor Branstad vetoed that safety net. Ironically, the Governor’s own Department of Human Services would have controlled spending from this pool, providing it to individual counties on a case-by-case basis after need was demonstrated. Governor Branstad’s veto of the risk pool guarantees that some counties will be forced to deny essential services to people who need them.’ AFSCME Iowa Council 61 completely agrees with Senator Hogg’s statement and it should be obvious to all Iowans that his prediction was 100 percent correct.
“Our hearts go out to the Abbe Center residents and Abbe Center staff whose lives will be turned upside down by this closing.”
AFSCME International President Lee Saunders was the keynote speaker at AFSCME Iowa Council 61’s 18th Biennial Convention. He was welcomed to the Convention stage with thunderous applause. President Saunders was also subject to a little good natured teasing of his loyalty to the Ohio State Buckeyes from AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan who selected the Iowa Fight Song as entrance music for President Saunders.
President Saunders spoke passionately about the hard work of AFSCME Iowa activists and AFSCME activists across the country. He detailed how AFSCME is being more aggressive as a force to protect our members and grow the middle class. He spoke of the importance of organizing – and lauded AFSCME Iowa’s recent organizing successes from Forest City to Onawa.Read more >>>
AFSCME International Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes Speaks of the Importance of Activism and the AFSCME PEOPLE Program
AFSCME International Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes was the keynote speaker at PEOPLE Night at AFSCME Iowa’s convention.
Secretary-Treasurer Reyes spoke of the importance of the PEOPLE program. She praised AFSCME Iowa Council 61 for having one of the highest rates of PEOPLE MVP participation in the country.Read more >>>
AFSCME IOWA COUNCIL 61 PEOPLE COMMITTEE ENDORSES PAT MURPHY, DAVE LOEBASCK, STACI APPEL, AND JIM MOWRER FOR CONGRESS
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.
July 20, 2013
DES MOINES, IA – Yesterday, at the 18th Biennial Convention of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, Danny Homan was re-elected as President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 by acclamation.
“I am honored by the trust and confidence placed in me by AFSCME Iowa’s members. AFSCME Iowa will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of our members, their families, and the services we provide to our communities,” said Homan.
“Our Union has accomplished much on behalf of our members over the last two years. AFSCME Iowa has successfully negotiated many contracts on behalf of the employees it represents. AFSCME Iowa prevented Governor Branstad from unconstitutionally expanding his item-veto power by taking him to the Iowa Supreme Court, where AFSCME Iowa prevailed in a unanimous decision. AFSCME Iowa also successfully defended the health care benefits earned by state and judicial employees by winning a historic arbitration decision in March 2013,” added Homan.
Homan was first elected in 2005 and will now begin his 5th term. Danny Homan was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. Homan proudly served in the United States Army from October 1971 until August 1973 as an Atomic Weapons Specialist. Danny Homan started his public employee career in June, 1984 with the Third Judicial District, Department of Correctional Services as a Residential Advisor at the Residential Treatment Facility in Sioux City.
Danny Homan started his career with AFSCME Iowa Council 61 in December 1987 as a Political Organizer. In February 1988, Homan was hired as a Union Representative serving AFSCME members in Northwest Iowa until July of 2005. In July 2005, Homan was elected President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61.
Susie Baker, a Drafter at the University of Northern Iowa, was re-elected as Executive Vice President by acclamation. Jerry Jones, a Correctional Officer at the Newton Correctional Facility, was re-elected as Secretary-Treasurer by acclamation.
July 17, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As you may know, Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert recently began the process of laying off twenty-five more contract-covered IWD employees (see the post below for more information).
I want to thank Iowa Workforce Development Board Chair (CWA member) Francis Giunta for standing in solidarity with IWD employees. Below, I have copied some correspondence from Brother Giunta to Director Wahlert.
Correspondence from Francis Giunta to Teresa Wahlert:
From: Francis Giunta, CWA Local 7110
Teresa & Colleagues,
In light of the information we received yesterday of 30 IWD employees being impacted personally and service to thousands more of our fellow Iowans being curtailed, I am not going to attend the State Workforce Board Chairs' Association Annual Meeting.
While the cost of attendance is low in comparison to the total $3.5M shortfall, I believe the money would be better used to provide services to Iowans.
July 17, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement regarding the latest round of layoffs announced by Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert in an e-mail to IWD employees:
“Iowa Workforce Development employees provide Iowans with needed services. For instance, they help Iowans find jobs and monitor workplace safety. These cuts will cost 25 AFSCME-contract covered employees their jobs and will curtail the quantity and quality of workforce services provided to Iowa workers and communities. These cuts are completely contrary to Governor Branstad’s stated goals of creating jobs and raising Iowa families’ incomes.
“These cuts could have been avoided. Director Wahlert clearly knew about this budget situation for months. When you consider that the funding shortfall is $3 million to $4 million and that the state entered the legislative session with over a billion dollars in reserves and ending balance, it becomes clear that the Branstad Administration and Director Wahlert chose to make these layoffs.
“There was ample opportunity to work with the legislature to use state funds to eliminate the need for cuts. There was ample opportunity to discuss this issue with our Union. Instead, Director Wahlert kept her plan secret until the last possible moment.
“This is yet another example of the Branstad Administration’s failure to live up to its promises of open government.”
July 16, 2013
A message from our friends at Progress Iowa:
June 25, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement regarding a media report that blueprints for the new Iowa State Penitentiary may have been stolen:
“I have been told that there are media reports that indicate that the blueprints for the new Iowa State Penitentiary were stolen from a construction shed. If true, this would be a major security breach that would threaten the safety of staff and the public for decades to come.
“Additionally, I have learned that shanks (improvised knives) were discovered hidden inside a roll of crackers at Iowa State Penitentiary. Despite this discovery and Monday’s discovery of hand-crafted ropes hidden at Iowa State Penitentiary, Governor Branstad and Director Baldwin have refused to acknowledge that there is a severe security crisis in the State of Iowa’s correctional institutions and that critically low staffing and the administration’s poor communication with staff are the reasons for this crisis.
“As far as I am aware, the administration has not had a serious discussion with local Union leadership about the security situation at Iowa State Penitentiary.
“There is a failure of leadership and an atmosphere of denial that continues to be pervasive in the Governor’s Office and Department of Corrections administration.”
June 25, 2013
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement concerning recent developments at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison:
“Yesterday, staff at the Iowa State Penitentiary discovered suspicious items including hand-crafted ropes. The Iowa Department of Corrections has acknowledged that these items may indicate that some inmates were planning to escape.
“This is yet another symptom of the woeful understaffing of Department of Corrections’ facilities, including the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.
“Iowa’s correctional staff do excellent work; however, there are simply too few of them. When staffing is this low, there are less eyes and ears on inmates and regular staff duties are completed less frequently. Inmates are clearly aware of low staffing levels and it is not surprising that some of them are choosing to take advantage of weakened security that puts inmates, staff, and the public at risk.
“Governor Branstad and Director Baldwin need to end their ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach to correctional security and acknowledge there is a major staffing problem in the State of Iowa’s correctional institutions.”
June 24, 2013
Brothers and Sisters,
In a press conference today, Governor Branstad was asked about his item-vetoes of funding for the Peace Officers Retirement System and Judicial Retirement Fund. While discussing public employee pensions, Branstad said:
“But I do recognize that these defined benefit systems have long been abandoned in the private sector and many companies have made the transition to a defined contribution system. I am not suggesting that we necessarily have to go that route in the State of Iowa. But I do think there needs to be thoughtful review of the systems and their sustainability for the long term.”
You can read the full story from Radio Iowa here.
Brothers and sisters, make no mistake: Governor Branstad is excited about going after all public employees’ pensions. We must remain alert, mobilized, and ready to fight for our retirement security.
Danny Homan, President
May 20, 2013
DES MOINES – An article in today’s Des Moines Register includes a quote from Glenwood Resource Center Superintendent Zvia McCormick stating that employees at Glenwood Resource Center are “well trained and our residents are safe, but our employees sometimes do not live up to our standards and expectations.”
Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan released the following statement regarding the Superintendent’s comments:
“When discussing the Glenwood Resource Center, staffing levels must be taken into account. Glenwood Resource Center is very understaffed. Staff is currently 65 residential treatment workers below the allowed level. Understaffing means that issues are noticed less quickly. Understaffing means that staff is rushed to complete tasks. Furthermore, the lack of staffing means that staff assignments are frequently changed, which limits opportunities for staff to build upon their strengths and gain specialized experience.
“There are limitations to how effective staff training can be. Most training teaches the appropriate staff response for situations where adequate staffing is present. It is difficult to respond to situations (such as when a resident acts violently) in a ‘by the book’ manner when you have been trained for a scenario that assumes additional staff. Furthermore, as characteristics of the resident population have changed over the years, the focus of training has shifted more slowly.
“Employees of Glenwood Resource Center are hardworking and care deeply about the residents. However, adequate staffing is necessary in order to ensure residents receive the best possible care.”
April 2, 2013
Statement on inmate attack on a Correctional Officer at Newton Correctional Facility
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding an inmate attack on a Correctional Officer at Newton Correctional Facility that occurred today:
“Today, a correctional officer was repeatedly punched in the face by an inmate at the Newton Correctional Facility. The officer was taken to off grounds to seek medical attention. The inmate was stopped with pepper spray and then segregated from the general population. Our thoughts are with the officer and we wish the officer a speedy and full recovery.
“Newton Correctional Facility is dangerously understaffed. Newton Correctional Facility was designed to hold 1,014 inmates. Today, it holds 1,290 inmates (27% over design capacity). There were 33 Correctional Officers, 5 Senior Correctional Officers, and 3 Trip Officers (who are off grounds) on duty today. On grounds, that is a ratio of 33.9 inmates per correctional officer. And that was on a day with slightly higher staffing levels than normal.
“On the unit where the officer was attacked, there were four officers on duty but one officer was off the unit handling another task. Lately, staffing on this unit is typically three officers. In the past, this unit was run with six officers.
“Director John Baldwin’s attempt to run corrections on the cheap is imperiling the safety of inmates, staff, and the community. While his ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ policy will likely result in a statement from him that everything is fine, such statements are dishonest. The staff who work in our prisons know staffing levels are dangerously low. Inmates know from observation that staffing levels are dangerously low. Director Baldwin’s policies are a disaster waiting to happen.”
The newest issue of AFSCME Iowa Council 61's newsletter is now available for download.
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Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) PEOPLE Committee endorsed Bruce Braley for US Senate.
On March 11th, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan was a guest on "The Drive Home with Sly," a pro-worker radio show on WEKZ-FM 93.7 that can be heard on the radio in northeast Iowa, southern Wisconsin, and northern Illinois. You can listen to the interview online or download a podcast of the interview by clicking here.
Award is fair for state employees and all Iowans
DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding Arbitrator Marvin Hill, Jr.’s arbitration award that was opened today:
“During the arbitration hearing, our Union made clear that state employees have repeatedly made wage concessions and plan design changes to maintain their health insurance. We demonstrated that the state currently has historic surpluses and that state government’s health insurance costs for employees have been stable over the past several years. We also noted that the State’s Final Offer on health insurance was nothing more than cost shifting; it did absolutely nothing to lower the overall cost of the State’s health insurance plans. We pointed out that the State’s Final Offer would basically be a large pay cut for state employees. We also showed that the Aon Hewitt wage and benefits studies were flawed; these studies used one comparability group for the wage comparison and then used a different comparability group for the health insurance comparison.
“We are pleased that the arbitrator recognized that the Union’s Final Offer was the most reasonable proposal and that the appropriate decision was to support AFSCME Iowa Council 61’s Final Offer on health insurance.
“With this fair and final decision, AFSCME members are pleased that we will be able to look forward and focus on providing public services to Iowans.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Today, Arbitrator Marvin Hill, Jr.’s arbitration award for the 2013 – 2015 state master contract was opened in front of the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 Negotiations Committee.
The most important aspect of Arbitrator Hill’s award is that the Union’s Final Offer (Status Quo) was awarded. What this means is that the current Health Insurance Plan Designs and Premium Calculations will remain exactly as they are in the 2011 – 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement. In other words, the Arbitrator’s Award makes no changes to health insurance for AFSCME contract covered state employees.
During the arbitration hearing, our Union made clear that state employees have repeatedly made wage concessions and plan design changes to maintain their health insurance. We demonstrated that the state currently has historic surpluses and that state government’s health insurance costs for employees have been stable over the past several years. We also noted that the State’s Final Offer on health insurance was nothing more than cost shifting; it did absolutely nothing to lower the overall cost of the State’s health insurance plans. We pointed out that the State’s Final Offer would basically be a large pay cut for state employees. We also showed that the Aon Hewitt wage and benefits studies were flawed; these studies used one comparability group for the wage comparison and then used a different comparability group for the health insurance comparison.
Maintaining our health insurance benefits was the top priority of the AFSCME bargaining committee and we are pleased that the arbitrator recognized that the Union’s Final Offer was the most reasonable proposal and that the appropriate decision was to support AFSCME Iowa Council 61’s Final Offer on health insurance.
There are other changes that are part of the Arbitrator’s stipulated award. Some of these changes will be painful and some will not be painful. All of the changes will be discussed at informational meetings that will be held across the State in the coming weeks. A schedule of those meetings will be mailed shortly. Some of the changes are as follows:
I strongly encourage you attend one of the upcoming informational meetings. You should receive that list of meeting sites and dates shortly, by US Mail. We will discuss each and every change that this arbitration award for the 2013 – 2015 State Master Contract makes to the current 2011 – 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In closing and on behalf of the bargaining committee, I want to thank you for your patience and support through this long and trying process. While I know that there will be more challenges facing us in the coming months and years, I am sure that if we continue to stand together, we can overcome those challenges.
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