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

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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 13 – 15 (Location To Be Announced)

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

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 has two job openings for Organizers. These positions are responsible for building and strengthening AFSCME Iowa Council 61’s membership base by conducting organizing campaigns both in unorganized units that desire AFSCME representation and in existing units where AFSCME Iowa Council 61 already serves as the collective bargaining representative.

Both positions are headquartered in Des Moines and report to, and work under the general supervision of the President and the Assistant to the President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61.

Applications and resumes must be received no later than Friday, May 2, 2014 and should be sent to Mark Frymoyer at the Council Office (AFSCME Iowa Council 61, 4320 NW 2nd Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50313 or mfrymoyer@afscmeiowa.org).

To reach a page where you can download an application and full job description, click "Read More."

Read more >>>

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 strongly encourages our members to attend legislative forums held by all legislators.

After cicking "Read More," you will find lists of legislative forums created by the party caucuses in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate. We are providing these links as a resource to you.

To view the forum lists, click "Read More" below and then look under “Additional Resources” at the bottom of the page.

The lists include forums in Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Fort Madison, Iowa City, and Washington.

Read more >>>

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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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 >>>

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As you know, our Legislative Conference, scheduled for Monday, March 3rd, is approaching fast. As part of that conference, we will be kicking off our new “AFSCME In Our Communities” initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to highlight all the contributions AFSCME members make in their communities outside of work.

As part of this initiative, we are asking you to tell us about how you are involved in your community outside of work. Are you a volunteer firefighter? Are active in the PTA? Do you coach a high school or youth sport? Do you volunteer for charitable organizations in your community? Are you a reserve law enforcement officer? Are you a volunteer for your church or place of worship? Do you mentor youth? Do you take part in neighborhood beautification projects? Are you a local elected official? I am sure there are hundreds of more examples than I could list here.

If you are active in your community, please let us know by e-mailing us at COMMUNITY@AFSCMEIOWA.ORG – tell us your name, your local, your personal phone number, and how you are active in your community. While you should feel free to just send us a couple sentences or a list, it is even better if you tell us your story of how you became involved in your activities and any moving experiences you have had while taking part in community activities.

Thank you for everything you do for your communities.

In Solidarity,


Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

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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