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


December 18, 2014

AFSCME Local 183 is supporting the Crisis Center of Johnson County this holiday season!

Pictured: Larry Fitzpatrick (AFSCME Local 183 President), right, presents a $500 donation to Adam Sullivan with the Crisis Center.

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Join us in discussing our legislative priorities, as well as, speak with legislators about the importance of public employees in our State.

Legislative Conference Reception
Tuesday, March 10th 5:00 PM -7:00 PM
Prairie Meadows, Bishop A & B

Legislative Conference Day on the Hill
Wednesday, March 11th

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM Legislative Conference
Prairie Meadows, Bishop A & B

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Legislative Conference-Afternoon on the Hill
Iowa State Capitol

RSVP to Morgan Miller

Hotel Accommodations under AFSCME:
Prairie Meadows Hotel
1 Prairie Meadows Drive
Altoona, IA 50009
(515) 957-3000

December 17, 2014

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 is proud to be a major sponsor of Toys for Tots in the KCCI viewing area. Check out our 2014 Toys for Tots ad that is airing on KCCI!

December 17, 2014

It is not easy to become a leader. It requires a lot of hard work and learning by practice – often by learning from one’s own mistakes. The process can be a lot less intimidating if someone has a mentor and advice from others.

That’s the idea behind the AFSCME Women’s Leadership Academy. This program, conducted by the International Union, seeks to help prepare “AFSCME women for future leadership roles in our union.” This year’s class included 30 women from around the country who were paired with 16 mentors. Two AFSCME Iowa Council 61 members, Candace Acord of AFSCME Local 3289 (Community Based Corrections) and Emily Stowe of AFSCME Local 2659 (University of Northern Iowa), were part of this year’s AFSCME Women’s Leadership Academy.

Candace Acord said the most valuable part of the academy was “meeting women who were leaders all across the country.” She added that “learning by example is often the best way to learn. My mentor, Patty Taylor of AFSCME Local 3707 in Akron, Ohio, was able to give me many effective tips on how to be a good leader. She taught me how to use technology to my advantage and emphasized that working smarter is even more important than working harder.”

Each participant had to develop a project to work on back in their home state. Candace has been working to push for legislation that would add a labor representative to each correctional services (community based corrections) board in Iowa. Her mentor Patty, who works in IT, helped Candace move past her technological-shyness and learn how to design Power Points and a website to better tell the story of community based corrections employees.

“I have always believed that workers should have a voice that should be listened to by elected officials. With the skills I learned from the academy and my mentor, I can be more effective in telling our message to elected officials and the public,” said Acord.

Emily Stowe’s mentor, Cherrene Horazuk of AFSCME Local 3800 at the University of Minnesota, was the perfect match for Emily and her project. Emily once considered journalism as a career and still finds it fascinating. That’s why she chose the creation of a local newsletter as her project. Cherrene had a lot of experience making a newsletter for her local and was able to give Emily many tips both on the technical/software aspects and on the messaging aspects of newsletter creation.

“It was very neat when she taught me that I could get more people to open the electronic version of newsletter by coming up with a catchier subject line – and showed me how to test it,” said Stowe.

“I can tell my newsletter is helping keep my brothers and sisters informed. After I wrote an article about a town hall held by consultants hired by the Board of Regents, I had several members tell me that reading who said what at the town hall was very helpful to them,” said Stowe.

Both Candace and Emily plan to continue their projects now that they have graduated from the academy. Furthermore, they also want to find a way to help more AFSCME women in Iowa become leaders. “Candace and I both felt the exchange of ideas and mentoring were amazing. We are going to work together to try to find a way that we can mentor AFSCME women here in Iowa,” said Stowe.

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December 17, 2014

Yesterday, AFSCME Local 451 (Newton Correctional Facility and Iowa Correctional Institute for Women employees) presented a $5000 donation to Toys for Tots on air on KCCI television! Thank you AFSCME Local 451 members!

Pictured with the check: Nate Ross (AFSCME Local 451 President) and Todd Givens? (AFSCME Local 451 Vice President).

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December 16, 2014

On Friday, December 12th and Saturday, December 13th, three special conventions were held to fill three vacant positions on the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 Executive Board.

At the Special Convention for District 1, Deb Shepherd of AFSCME Local 3450 was elected as an AFSCME Iowa Council 61 District 1 Vice President (at-large seat). Deb is also the President of AFSCME Local 3450. Deb works as a Workforce Advisor at Iowa Workforce Development and has been an AFSCME member for more than thirteen years.

“It is an honor to represent my sisters and brothers as an AFSCME Iowa Council 61 Executive Board member. With so many challenges facing working people, I am glad to be an AFSCME member,” said Shepherd.

At the Special Convention for District 5, Nathan Osbon of AFSCME Local 2989 was elected as an AFSCME Iowa Council 61 District 5 Vice President (at-large seat). Nathan is also the President of AFSCME Local 2989. Nathan works as a Correctional Officer at Iowa State Penitentiary and has been an AFSCME member for more than twelve years.

“Our Union does so much good on behalf of our members. I am pleased to be able to further help our Union do that,” said Osbon.

At the Special Convention for District 6, Candace Acord of AFSCME Local 3289-6 was elected as an AFSCME Iowa Council 61 District 6 Vice President (at-large seat). Candace is also the Treasurer for AFSCME Local 3289 and the Recording Secretary for Chapter 6 of AFSCME Local 3289. Candace works as a Probation Officer at the 6th District Department of Correctional Services and has been an AFSCME member for more than twenty-one years.

“My AFSCME sisters and brothers have always had my back. I am excited about working on their behalf on the Executive Board,” said Acord.

Congratulations to the newly elected members of the Executive Board!

(Pictured Left to Right: Deb Shepherd, Nathan Osbon, and Candace Acord)

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Employees shouldn’t have to risk their health to do their jobs. Four out of 10 private-sector workers come to work sick – or don’t get paid. The picture is noticeably different for state and local government workers, where union membership is stronger. Nine out of 10 workers in state and local government receive paid sick leave and, of those who belong to a union, it’s nearly everyone – 97 percent.


December 13, 2014

MASON CITY – Today, AFSCME Local 2998 donated over $500 worth of toys to Toys for Tots. The toys were donated at an event at KIMT-TV in Mason City.

The picture from the event shows AFSCME members and family presenting the Toys for Tots donation. Pictured are:
Front Row Left to Right: Wesley Greer and Bailey Erickson
Back Row Left to Right: Craig Greer, Daryl Erickson, Vance Wendel, Tim Theilen, and Curt Moore

“Our members know that we are part of a strong North Iowa community that cares for each other. We are glad to make this donation and help bring joy to children this holiday season,” said AFSCME Local 2998 President Daryl Erickson.

AFSCME Local 2998 represents Iowa Department of Transportation employees who work in DOT District II, which includes the Mason City area.

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 Council 61 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).

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Pregnancy should not cost women their paychecks. But that's exactly what happened to UPS delivery driver Peggy Young when she became pregnant in 2006.


December 10, 2014

AFSCME Local 183 is proud to support the North Liberty Community Pantry with a $500 donation! Pictured is Tina Du Bois, the pantry director, and Mike Weinard (Retired-AFSCME Local 183).

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December 10, 2014

AFSCME Local 35 members are proud to support Toys for Tots this holiday season.

Pictured left to right with the AFSCME Local 35's donation: James Murrell (AFSCME Local 35 Vice President), Don Ehm (AFSCME Local 35 Treasurer), Ray Woodrich (AFSCME Local 35 President), Jeff Davis (AFSCME Local 35 Executive Board Member), James Woodyard (AFSCME Local 35 Member). Jeff Doane (AFSCME Local 35 Recording Secretary), and Ben Veach (AFSCME Local 35 Member).

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President Obama's willingness to act on immigration while Congress dithers and delays is admirable. Read President Saunders' Huffington Post article on it here.


December 8, 2014

AFSCME Local 2993 (Cherokee Mental Health Institute and CCUSO employees) is proud to be supporting Toys for Tots!

Pictured with donated toys: AFSCME Local 2993 Executive Board Member Ann Gerdes-Dornack, Cherokee Chief of Police Steve Schuck, and AFSCME Local 2993 President Janet Hansen.

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December 5, 2014

The AFSCME Iowa Council 61 members in the West Des Moines Water Works Chapter of AFSCME Local 3861 are proud to be donating toys to Toys for Tots.

Pictured left to right with the toys donated by Chapter members: Vinny White (AFSCME Local 3861 West Des Moines Water Chapter Chair), Danny Homan (AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President), and Kevin Trevillyan (AFSCME Local 3861 Member).

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December 4, 2014


Today, AFSCME Local 2985 donated $4,500 to Toys for Tots at an event at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center. Michele Matt, the Toys for Tots representative for Linn County, accepted the donation on behalf of Toys for Tots.

Pictured from left to right are: Jason Moats (AFSCME Local 2985 Vice President), Michele Matt (Linn Co. Toys for Tots Representative), Marty Hathaway (AFSCME Local 2985 President), Jeff Walker (AFSCME Local 2985 Executive Board Member), Diana Fitzsimmons (AFSCME Local 2985 Executive Board Member), and SSGT Jake Busteed (US Marine).

“Every child should have an opportunity to experience the joy of a gift this holiday season. AFSCME Local 2985 members are proud to support Toys for Tots,” said AFSCME Local 2985 President Marty Hathaway.

The donation is a continuation of efforts made by Local 2985 in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2011, several AFSCME Local 2985 members returned from military deployments. When the local’s membership asked how to best honor these returning veterans, the veterans asked the local to make donations to Toys for Tots.

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 Council 61 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).

AFSCME Local 2985 represents employees at the Iowa Medical & Classification Center, which is part of the Iowa Department of Corrections.

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December 3, 2014

AFSCME Local 183 has made a $500 contribution to the 2014 Homeless Children's Trust Christmas Shopping & Party for the Iowa City area. Local 183 represents many City of Iowa City, City of Coralville, and Johnson County employees. Pictured, from left, are Mary Larew, HCT Shopping & Party chairperson, and Chris Weinard, treasurer of AFSCME Local 183.

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December 3, 2014

The Holidays Issue of the Iowa Unionist, our newsletter, is now available for download. In this issue:

  • International-Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes Visits With Members Across Iowa
  • President's Message
  • AFSCME Gear
  • AFSCME Member Assists with Honor Flight
  • Toys for Tots
  • Locals Celebrate Anniversaries
  • AFSCME Member Starts Innovative Non-profit
  • Ask the Attorney
  • New Organizing Staff

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

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December 2, 2014

AFSCME Local 1127 is spreading holiday cheer! In this photo, AFSCME members present a $50 donation to the Guttenberg Police Department's Christmas Family Fund, which will help a Guttenberg family in need this holiday season. City Manager Mary Willet accepted the check on behalf of the Police Department.

Pictured left to right are:
Back: Steve McLane, Mat Ries, Dan Pierce, Al Troester, Denny Roth, and Steve Bahls.
Front: Debbie Eulberg, Jamie Blume, Kari Hoyheim, and Mary Willett

AFSCME member Eric Sullivan was unable to attend the photo.

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November 26, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It lets us sit back and take stock of things that are really important in life. Many of us will spend the day with family. Others will use the time off to take a vacation. Some will just be pleased to relax and watch some (hopefully good) football games.

Many other Americans will be working on Thanksgiving. This includes many of your AFSCME sisters and brothers. For these workers, working on Thanksgiving is often a necessity to keep the public and vulnerable Iowans safe. Even when this is not the case, all AFSCME members working on Thanksgiving Day are doing so under a union contract where workers had a strong voice in determining their terms of employment. I want to thank all AFSCME members who will be working tomorrow.

However, there are other types of workers who will be working tomorrow. These workers do not have collective bargaining and do not have a voice on the job. These workers often work for low wages and have few benefits despite working for massively wealthy national retail chains. Some of these workers have been told “if you do not come to work on Thanksgiving, you will automatically be fired.”

I will not be shopping on Thanksgiving. I urge you not to shop on Thanksgiving. When doing your shopping later, I urge you to remember which businesses are opening on Thanksgiving and which businesses are not opening on Thanksgiving.

This trend of forcing workers to work on Thanksgiving is a symptom of a larger problem: the vast majority of retail workers do not have a voice on the job. Attempts to form a Union are often met with strong-arm tactics by their employers.

One company has been at the forefront of anti-worker tactics: Wal-Mart. You can read more about Wal-Mart’s labor record here. This Black Friday, there will be protests against Wal-Mart around the country. You can look up whether there is a protest in your area at

I am thankful for my country, my family, and the solidarity of my Union. As a labor movement, we know that our country will be stronger when more workers can experience the solidarity and security of being a union member.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61

We know that money can be a big obstacle when it comes to higher education. That’s why AFSCME provides scholarships to help members and their families reach their educational goals.


November 22, 2014

AFSCME Local 2987 (Independence Mental Health Institute) is spreading Holiday Cheer! Click "Read more" to see two pictures where AFSCME Local 2987 members are presenting $500 donations to Operation Santa and the Independence Food Pantry.

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November 21, 2014

Thank you to AFSCME Local 1868 (Polk County Employees and City of Ankeny Public Works Employees) for their generous donation to Toys for Tots! AFSCME Local 1868 is definitely spreading holiday cheer this season.

Left to right: Ronnie Morgan, John Tyler, Santa, and Amanda Tyler.

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November 11, 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

One week ago, our nation held an election. Like me, many of you were probably disappointed about the results in many of the races. However, for me, a little bit of time, and the specialness of this day, Veterans Day, have helped put things in perspective.

We are blessed to live in a nation that chooses its leaders on Election Day and not have them chosen for us by kings, dictators, religious leaders, or military leaders. As Americans, we owe that freedom to many who took part in the continuing process to make our nation a more perfect union: our founding fathers, the abolitionists, the suffragettes, the labor unionists, civil rights activists, and the many who continue the push for justice and equality to this very day. On this day, we honor those who gave so much to protect our freedom: America’s veterans past and present.

Here’s a simple fact. Without the sacrifices of America’s veterans, last Tuesday’s election would not have happened. Nor would the 113 federal elections that preceded last Tuesday’s election have happened. Beyond our nation’s borders, a significant portion of the world enjoys freedom and democracy thanks to the sacrifices of our veterans and those of our allies.

Our veterans have been through so much: they have been away from their families in distant lands, they have seen the horrors of war, they have lost friends on the field of battle, and they have had to face the challenges of returning to civilian life.

On this Veterans Day, please take a moment to thank any veterans you may know as well as their families. And during the rest of the year, for this year and all the years to come, remember our veterans and support them and the services they need.

The greatest honor of my life was to swear the enlistment oath to support and defend the Constitution. This Veterans Day I will be thinking of all the veterans who are still with us and the many that no longer are with us.

In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President
AFSCME Iowa Council 61
United States Army, 1971-1973

October 30, 2014

Our newest volunteer of the week is Dan Bednar of AFSCME Local 3015! Dan understands how this election will impact our collective bargaining rights and the future of our families and communities. Dan has volunteered countless times to help his State Senator, Daryl Beall, who is a friend to all working families. Dan also makes sure to explain the importance of this election to his AFSCME sisters and brothers, his friends, and his neighbors.

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October 24, 2014

Our newest volunteer of the week is Candace Acord of AFSCME Local 3289! This past month, Candace has sent her weekends helping members and voters sign up to vote early in this years elections. This past week after a day of door knocking in the rain, Candace organized a Chili Phone Bank for State Senate Candidate, Kevin Kinney in North Liberty. Little things like this help motivate volunteers into our final push the last week before GOTV. Thank you Candace!

Click "Read More" to see a higher resolution picture of Candace and picture of the chili at Candace's phone bank!

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October 16, 2014

Our newest volunteer of the week is Mike Gass of AFSCME Local 451! Mike has been tireless in his efforts on behalf of AFSCME recommended candidates. He has knocked doors in Altoona for Joe Riding and Chaz Allen, knocked doors in Urbandale for John Forbes, and traveled to Ottumwa to knock doors for his AFSCME brother Steve Siegel. Mike makes sure that his AFSCME brothers and sisters understand the impacts that elections have on their jobs and their families.

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October 10, 2014

Andy Bock of AFSCME Local 96 is our newest volunteer of the week! Andy has always been a very active political volunteer and is kicking his volunteering into an even higher gear as we approach this important election that will affect our members, their families, and our communities.  Andy has door knocked for many AFSCME recommended candidates including Chaz Allen, Joe Riding, and Steve Siegel. He has phone banked his AFSCME brothers and sisters to encourage them vote by mail.  He is also very active locally in Story County in signing up members to early vote and works closely with Senator Quirmbach, his state senator.

(Click "Read more" to see a larger picture of Andy Bock just before he heads out to knock some doors!)

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October 6, 2014

Deb Murphy of AFSCME Local 2985 is our volunteer of the week! Deb has been a strong political activist this campaign, coming in Wednesdays to phone bank for Linn County State Representative, Daniel Lundby. To add to this, Deb brings her 14 year old grandson, Keagan, with her and puts him to work as well. She teaches him the importance of voting and helping elect public officials who care about working families. Deb is doing all she can to stand up for her fellow union members and her community by staying involved this last month of the election.

(Click "Read more' to see a larger picture of Deb and Keagan as they phone bank.)

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October 1, 2014

Jean McMaken of AFSCME Local 96 is our volunteer of the week! Jean volunteers at least two nights a week for her local Iowa Senate candidate Herman Quirmbach. On the other nights of the week she makes member to member phone calls in our targeted legislative races. On most Saturdays and Sundays she is out door knocking in her community and elsewhere. During the primary election Jean traveled to Ottumwa to knock doors for Steve Sieigel, one of her AFSCME brothers. Jean is passionate about the cause and is someone we can always rely on to do whatever is needed to elect candidates that support the middle class.

(Click "Read more" to see a larger picture of Jean with Rep. Mark Smith.)

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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.

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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.”

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.

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

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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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)

Please do not email us from your work location or using a work email address.  This can and has led to discipline from management.

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