Austerity Measures and Unions

AFSCME | AFSCME Launches New Ad Supporting American Jobs Act

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME) today announced that a television ad, titled “Podium,” will begin airing in congressional districts across the country. The 30-second spot is the second advertisement in support of enactment of a robust jobs plan. The ad urges residents to call their members of Congress and tell them to pass the American Jobs Act.

“Despite this week’s vote in the Senate, millions of Americans are still out of work, the middle class is still under attack, and the corporate-backed politicians don’t have a plan to create jobs,” stated AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee. “Americans are reclaiming their voice in a Main Street Movement that spans from Madison to Columbus to New York to cities across the nation. Washington can help them by passing the American Jobs Act now.”

“Podium” will begin airing Oct. 13, in 8 states and 10 media markets across the country. A separate radio advertisement will also run in select states. “What if middle-class families were finally given the podium so that politicians finally listen to us instead of fighting for millionaires and corporations,” opens the ad while, “We all need to tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act Now,” is the tag line at the conclusion.

“This country is in the throes of one of the worst financial crises in this country’s history while corporate-backed politicians, including Republican leaders in Congress, play partisan politics while letting the working middle class suffer. This Main Street Movement will keep marching until Americans are put back to work,” stated AFSCME Sec.–Treas. Lee Saunders.

via AFSCME | AFSCME Launches New Ad Supporting American Jobs Act.

Hundreds Hoping to Save the Chester Mental Health Center | WSILTV | Local News

CHESTER – Each town in Illinois impacted by the Governor’s plan to close state facilities has their own set of issues. However, the people in Chester believe they have one thing that sets them apart.

The Chester center is “one of a kind,” designed as the state’s only maximum security mental health hospital. On Wednesday evening, 57 people signed up to testify, with almost all saying the center needs to stay.

“To save 100,000 dollars, the administration seems prepared to throw hundreds of people out of work,” said AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Henry Bayer.

For hours on Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of people filed through the Chester High School gymnasium with shirts, signs, and shows of support.

Most of the public hearing crowd is hoping to convince the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability that the Chester Mental Health Center must remain open – and hoping that the commission sends that message to Governor Quinn.

“It basically devastates this area,” said Chester Mayor Joe Eggemeyer. “I mean completely, and we just cannot absorb that.”

The fight extends beyond Chester – through Randolph County and nearby towns. Nearly a quarter of the mental health employees live in Sparta.

“Our small communities in southern Illinois, it’s everything we can do to keep things afloat,” said Sparta Mayor Rob Link. “With a facility like this, it’s only one of a kind.”

The facility in Chester was built in 1976, has a capacity of 240 patients, and costs more than 34 million dollars a year to operate. 440 people work there, including Aaron Bert of Chester.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Bert. “Everybody’s scared you know, they don’t know what to think.”

Bert has spent eight years with the Chester Mental Health Center and lives in town with his wife Kristy and two young girls. The family joined hundreds of other people for the public hearing.

“How are we all going to get beyond this if our husbands and the wives, sisters, and brothers, and moms and dads lose their jobs?” said Kristy Bert.

They’re trying to stay positive, but Aaron Bert’s job allows him to provide health insurance for the whole family. If the center closes in March, the family isn’t sure what the future holds.

“I try not to think about it or anything,” said Bert. “Hopefully we can stay here and find something else, but you know if this place shuts down, there isn’t going to be much left of Chester.”

via Hundreds Hoping to Save the Chester Mental Health Center | WSILTV | Local News.

What Is To Be Done About The Unions?

This is part two of an interview. If I find part one I’ll update this post.


AFSCME | A Jobs Plan Even Our Kids Can Understand

The American Jobs Act, President Obama’s plan to put unemployed Americans back to work and keep those who have jobs out of the unemployment lines, needs everyone’s support if it’s going to pass.



For more on The American Jobs Act, click here.

via AFSCME | A Jobs Plan Even Our Kids Can Understand.

Kankakee We Are One Video – Part 3

Kankakee alderman Steven Hunter introduces pastor Vincent Clark at the We Are One event held in Kankakee on April 4, 2011. Mr. Clark reads Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech.

Dr. King originally gave the speech on April 3, 1968. He was assassinated the next day.

Kankakee We Are One Video – Part 2

Theodis Pace talks at the We Are One event held in Kankakee on April 4, 2011.

Kankakee We Are One Video – Part 1

Taken April 4, 2011. In this part Mike Quigley gives the invocation after which Gary Ciaccio speaks.

ThinkProgress » 43 Years Ago Today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Died Fighting For The Rights Of Public Workers

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many Americans know that King was shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee — which now hosts a national civil rights museum in honor of King — but what is less known is why King was there in the first place.

On April 3, 1968, King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, where he delivered his famous “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” speech, during which he endorsed a “human rights revolution” based around eradicating racism, poverty, and militarism.

King had arrived in Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers, who struck to gain collective bargaining rights and better conditions following the deaths of two city workers in an accident. King called upon the city to respect the “dignity of labor,” saying that all workers deserved fair treatment. He also said it was a crime for a rich country like the United States to pay some people starvation wages. Documentary footage from the AFSCME union captured King’s address to the workers:

KING: You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth. You are reminding not only Memphis but you are reminding the nation that it is a crime for people who live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.

Watch it:

via ThinkProgress » 43 Years Ago Today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Died Fighting For The Rights Of Public Workers.

Daily Show: I Give Up – Pay Anything…

As greedy public workers bankrupt states, America makes it harder for honest corporate citizens to create jobs.