News

Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes recently introduced a resolution calling on Congress to affirm its support for providing living wages, good benefits and fair working conditions to paraeducators, classroom assistants, bus drivers, custodial workers and others who are vital to our public education system.

We’ve said it before: Life is better in a union

Workers who belong to unions make more money than their nonunion counterparts. They have better health care insurance and retirement plans, more job security and safer working conditions. They’re happier.

When contract negotiations started last fall, Jackson Health System workers had weathered multiple surges of COVID-19.

The hardworking front-line staff of South Florida’s largest public safety-net health system were hopeful that their next Local 1363 (AFSCME Florida) contract would recognize how they pulled together to serve their community even when patients levels were high and staffing levels were battered by infections, burnout and more.

It did.

Some of the nation’s largest cultural institutions accepted more than $1.6 billion in federal help to weather the coronavirus pandemic, but continued to let go of workers – even though the assistance was meant to shore up payrolls and keep workers on the job, according to a report released by AFSCME Cultural Workers United.

Following the explosive story by Lawrence Mower on the lack of transparency for state workers concerning COVID-19 exposure, the editorial board for Florida's largest newspaper weighed in. 

On Monday, September 27, Lawrence Mower, the Tallahassee Correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times / Miami Herald group, wrote an extensive piece detailing how state workers have been left in the dark, on purpose, about COVID issues in the workplace. 

"Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to keep Florida open has been felt acutely by many state workers, some of whom have been among the earliest to return to in-office meetings," he writes. 

When Fran Krugen’s late husband was first diagnosed with diabetes, his insulin cost about $35 a bottle.

But Krugen, an AFSCME retiree from Arizona, will never forget the day when she and her husband went to the drug store to pick up his insulin and the pharmacist told them it now cost $900 a bottle.

“This was medication he needed to live, and we had insurance,” she said at a press briefing earlier this month. “We looked at each other and had to ask ourselves: Do we make the house payment? Do we buy food? Or do we pay for his medication?”

The pandemic has led many of us to take stock of our lives and our goals. For AFSCME New Jersey member LaTrenda Ross, the pandemic ignited a long-held dream—starting her own life coaching business.

“I was thinking about revamping my whole entire life,” recalls Ross, a member of Local 2306. “I was looking out for things I want to do, things I haven’t been going after.”