Posts Tagged ‘AFSCME’

Off the Clock with musician Mike McColgan of the Street Dogs

Off the Clock

In this regular interview series, American Rights at Work spends some time off the clock with notable workers’ rights leaders, supporters, experts, and organizers.

Are unions punk rock? We think so, and so does Mike McColgan, the lead singer of the popular punk band the Street Dogs. Mike’s work as a union firefighter and pressman have shaped the riveting working class anthems he’s written and performed in bands like the Dropkick Murphys, and now with the Street Dogs. We’ve been blown away by their music for years and will see them on Monday in concert in D.C. at the Black Cat. You can also catch the Street Dogs live on their Wreck the Halls tour, pick up one of their many recordings, or watch them in action performing in Madison as part of the historic protests against collective bargaining attacks in Wisconsin. Read our interview with Mike to learn more about what inspires his passionate political stances, powerful lyrics, and lifelong fight to champion unions… Read more »


Full Circle: Union members were first responders on 9/11, now at heart of World Trade Center rebuilding

Whether we’re facing hurricanes, recessions, or terrorist attacks, we have faith that the workers of America will be there, ready to rebuild our communities. They are ready to serve and ready to work, in any circumstance. We were reminded of that strength while viewing and reading the moving slideshow in today’s New York Times on the over 3,200 construction workers rebuilding the World Trade Center site. It’s fitting: union members were among the first responders; union members served in the immediate cleanup; and now union members are part of the rebuilding. Read more »


How Labor Unions Made Our Day

Have a friend or family member who might need a gentle reminder about the importance of the labor movement this holiday weekend? We suggest checking out AFSCME’s Labor Unions Made My Day website. It shares straightforward examples of the perks all Americans enjoy because of union members, and even allows users to share their own ideas. Read more »


Standing in Solidarity with America’s Workers on April 4

Standing With Wisconsin at the We Are One RallyYesterday, American Rights at Work came together with hundreds of working Americans and activist groups at the We Are One rally in Washington, DC. The event was one of more than a thousand across the country planned this week to honor the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968. On that day, Dr. King stood with striking AFSCME sanitation workers who were demanding their right to collectively bargain. Forty-three years later, the fight continued to ensure that firefighters, teachers, nurses, and other public workers are treated fairly and respectfully. Read more »


Taking on the assault on public employees

Anti-worker pundits and politicos have been attacking public sector workers, but anyone with a lick of sense knows it wasn’t workers who created the economic crisis.  AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee has a nice rebuttal to attacks on public sector workers.

McEntee points out that public sector workers like librarians, corrections officers, cops and firemen are hardly rolling in money:

AFSCME’s non-teaching public employee members earn, on average, $45,000 a year to protect the public and the most vulnerable members of our society. After a career of service, our members retire with modest pensions of about $19,000 per year. And, unlike most private sector workers, our members typically contribute towards this pension benefit.

And while anti-worker voices say it’s unfair for public sector workers to have better benefits than private sector, they’re right.  They just have their solution backwards:

What is truly galling for private sector employees is the outright refusal of our political and economic elites to recognize and deal with stagnant wages and eroding retirement and health security. Our nation’s problem is not that public service workers have decent pensions, it is that so many other employees don’t.

It’s not a coincidence that a higher percentage of public sector workers belong to unions and they have fair wages and benefits.  Unions exist to give workers the power to making a decent living and have respect on the job.  When our labor laws catch up to our values, the American Dream will be back in reach for millions of workers—in all sectors of the economy.