Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Workers Memorial Day

All too often we hear about Americans being killed and injured at the workplace. Nearly 5,680 workers on average die on the job each year. In the last 30 years, 500 AFSCME members have been killed on the job.

Every worker who is killed or injured under these circumstances serves as a constant reminder of why the men and women of AFSCME continue to fight for increased security and the best workplace safety resources.

April 28, Workers Memorial Day, is set aside to pay tribute to the men and women who have been killed or injured at work. The date coincides with the anniversary of the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency in charge of issuing and enforcing standards for workplace safety and health.

Since OSHA’s inception, in 1970, the number of workplace fatalities has fallen. But we have more work to do. Today, only 24 states along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have federally approved OSHA laws covering public employees. That’s not enough. Every public employee across this nation deserves OSHA protections.

That’s why AFSCME is playing a leading role in the battle for the job safety rights that protect workers from asbestos, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and other hazards. Regularly, we also conduct health and safety training so our members can identify and correct workplace hazards.

The fight for workers’ rights goes hand in hand with workplace security. After all, good jobs are also safe jobs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This Date in Arkansas Labor History

April 27, 1999. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration declared that Arkansas has more high-injury workplaces per capita than all but 10 other states. The federal agency identified 264 job sites in Arkansas as among the nation’s 12,500 worst for occupational injury and illness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

UA Pay Equity Still an Issue

The Wage Gap….It’s not just about women anymore! The wage gap isn’t just a women’s issue. Equal pay for women raises family income and the whole family benefits.

In 2006, women earned approximately 77 cents for every dollar men received. That’s $23 less to spend on groceries, housing, child care and all other expenses for every $100 worth of work done.

Two years ago, AFSCME Local 965 raised the problem of the significant wage gap between male and female professors at the University of Arkansas with Chancellor John White, but his response was to offer excuses rather than solutions. We are hopeful that Chancellor David Gearhart will take the issue more seriously and take meaningful action to make it right.

A press conference will be held observing Pay Equity Day Tuesday, April 28, 1PM at the Fayetteville Public Library Walker Room.
Pay Equity Day is the day to which women must work the following year to make the same money as a man made in the 12 months of the year before. Women must work 16 months for what men earn in one year. The press conference is being sponsored by The American Association of University Women Fayetteville Branch, Business and Professional Women of NW Arkansas, Democratic Women of Washington County, League of Women Voters of Arkansas, and National Organization of Women of Arkansas. Information from the new AAUW State by State Earnings Comparsion and the last University of Arkansas Wage Study will be shared. Where women are wage wise and what needs to be done to address the disparity will be discussed.
For questions or further information, contact Berta Seitz, 479-442-6256, or email at berta.seitz@att.net.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

From President Gerald McEntee

State and local budgets are being drastically slashed, and AFSCME members like you are on the front lines—trying to meet skyrocketing demand for services with fewer and fewer resources.

In the face of such challenges, AFSCME members do we what do best—we keep our communities going. We make America happen.

But it can't all be left to the frontline workers to keep doing more and more with less and less. That's why AFSCME launched our Make America Happen campaign—to win bold changes in Washington that will get our country back on track.

With our Make America Happen campaign we are fighting to win:
  1. Big investment in public services that strengthen the economy;
  2. Quality, affordable health care we can count on;
  3. A stronger middle class by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
Republican leaders in Congress have made clear that they will do all they can to block progress. Not one Republican House member—not one—voted for President Obama's recovery bill for Main Street—a bill to create or save nearly 4 million jobs, in part by investing $225 billion in state and local public services. We got it passed without them because tens of thousands of AFSCME members took action—calling, emailing and writing your elected officials in Washington.

Our work is far from done. Our next step is to help get the President's budget passed. Unlike the budgets of the past eight years, it’s a budget with the right priorities—putting the needs of working families first and paving the way for real health care reform.

As part of our Make America Happen campaign, we've deployed field organizers across the country. And this week we've launched, in partnership with Americans United for Change, a TV ad campaign to put pressure on politicians who want to stay with the failed policies of the past.

But field organizers and TV ads won't be enough. We need every AFSCME member taking part in this campaign. We’ve launched a new Make America Happen website. There you can get campaign updates, watch a video message from me, hear from your fellow AFSCME members, register for a special online briefing and sign up to get involved.

In Solidarity,

International President

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Date in Arkansas Labor History

April 19, 1999. University of Arkansas United Students Against Sweatshops pressed Chancellor John White and UA administrators to support changes to "code of conduct" addressing women's rights and realistic wages to ensure that the University's trademark apparel isn't made in sweatshops by mistreated and underpaid foreign workers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Health Care for America Survey

THE ECONOMY IS NOT WORKING FOR WORKING FAMILIES TODAY—AND HEALTH CARE IS A MAJOR PART OF THE PROBLEM. Across America, families are making hard decisions between paying for health care and paying for other necessities and struggling with a system that is too often cruel and inefficient. As President Obama has said, "Health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."

With health care reform front and center, it's important that AFSCME members make our voices heard in this critical policy debate. Take the survey!

As decision-makers at every level take up health care reform, it is urgent that they hear from working families about what you are experiencing. Please MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD BY COMPLETING THIS SURVEY, telling your health care story and encouraging your friends, co-workers and family members to do so, too. We'll share the survey results with national, state and media leaders.