Members of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) joined CWA-MSWU (Communication Workers of America-Missouri State Workers Union), and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) to meet with and lobby legislators regarding wages as well as harmful anti-worker legislation such as Right to Work and Paycheck Deception. More than 250 workers gathered at the Capitol in Jefferson City to deliver their message.
One of the priorities for the activists was to encourage legislators to support the negotiated 2% wage increase. Missouri’s state workers are paid the lowest in the nation, 34% below the national average according to census data.
“In order to recruit and retain the highest quality workforce to care for Missouri’s veterans, children and our most vulnerable citizens, we must be able to pay them accordingly,” said Jeff Mazur, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 72.
Also on the activists’ radar was legislation such as Right to Work and Paycheck Deception. Activists made clear to legislators that these attacks on workers’ rights should be soundly defeated if they come up for a vote.
“Right to Work for Less and Paycheck Deception are strictly an attack on our rights to collectively bargain and have our voices heard on the job,” said Roy Hutchison, President of AFSCME Local 3509at the Higginsville Habilitation Center. “Our legislators should know that we need them to focus on creating jobs, not attacking workers.”
The public employees look forward to working with elected officials and will monitor legislation and continue to advocate for fair wages and a right to voice on the job for all workers.
Even though the current Agreement has only been in place for a few months, the results are already apparent. The grievance procedure included in the Agreement has changed the attitude of management and held them accountable.
“I’m seeing a whole different attitude when it comes to dealing with grievances, by every level of management from the front-line supervisor to the administrator’s and directors” stated Eric Moore, Staff Representative, “We recently had a termination at Fulton State Hospital where the merits of the grievance proved that it was an unjust termination. The Department denied the grievance and the Union made a decision to move the grievance to arbitration, within a week of notifying the employer of our intent to arbitrate, they reversed their decision and reinstated our member with full back pay and benefits”.
The intent of the grievance procedure and binding arbitration is to ensure that every member has a right to a fair and impartial dispute resolution. We must continue to enforce the contract we worked so hard to negotiate. The strongest way to do this is to organize and educate new members about our rights in the contract, along with organizing we now have a powerful tool in the grievance procedure to enforce our rights.
If you feel your rights have been violated under the new contract please find a shop steward immediately and they can assist and advise you of your rights and the process of enforcing those rights.
The Missouri legislature is in recess for spring break, but details of the House Budget Committee's spending plan have been released, and they include the AFSCME negotiated 2% wage increase. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
The House Budget Committee this week approved a $24 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1...
The budget recommendation includes raises for state employees who make less than $70,000 a year. The raises would take effect July 1. That is a bit of a departure from Nixon’s raise plan, which would have applied to all workers and started Jan. 1, 2013, but it will cost the state about the same amount.
We will be working with the legislature to ensure this moves forward, and we encourage you to join us for Lobby Day on March 21 to ensure your legislators hear directly from you regarding our pay raise, as well as other critical workers' rights legislation.
On Wednesday, March 21st we’ll be having our annual Lobby Day. This is our chance to remind our legislators that we’re watching how they vote in Jefferson City, and we expect them to do right by their constituents. This year, we’ll be joining the other public employee unions in the state for a joint lobby day. Public workers all over the state have been under attack, and standing with our sisters and brothers will give us a stronger voice in the Capitol. Workers from AFSCME, Communication Workers of America (CWA), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will come together at the state capitol to fight the anti-worker bills moving in the legislature.
Some lawmakers have already tried to pass right-to-work-for-less and paycheck deception laws in an attempt to weaken our rights, and so far have been unsuccessful. On top of that, some legislators once again don’t want to give us a pay raise. You know better than anyone that state and public workers have gone far too long without a pay raise and the one we’ve negotiated in our contract is long overdue. With the governor’s recent actions, it is now up to us to ensure that our legislators hear us loud and clear.
This year more than ever, it’s critical we make our voices heard, to keep the pressure on legislators.
Busses will be leaving from Kansas City, Higginsville, Marshall, and St. Louis. For more information and to RSVP to save your spot on the bus, call us at the AFSCME office: (800) 554-2054.