February is here, which means we are celebrating Black History Month. Come by union headquarters for movie night on February 19th when we will screen “Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race” with special guest speakers. Along with the start of the new year we are reminded of new set of challenges that lie ahead. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated on January 18th and his words continue to ring true today: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
It’s an election year, and Dr. King would be heartbroken- and then take action- at some of the headlines coming from political camps these days. In his spirit, we will fight against any mantras of hate and fear and that take away worker rights. It’s up to us to fight back and the only way to do that is to be registered and vote. Make your voice heard on behalf of working families and uplifting our communities.
One of our challenges in the coming year is a court case called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. In short, the case would allow freeloaders to remain in the unit. This case, brought by a teacher against her union, aims to toss out a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in a similar case in 1977. In the 1977 case, D. Louis Abood, a Detroit school teacher, sued the union because he objected to union membership. The court upheld the right of unions to get collective bargaining fees from someone choosing not to be a member. In other words, someone cannot be required to be a member but can be required to pay their fair share under a union contract. If the court sides with Friedrichs, which is very likely, it would be devastating to public sector unions because it would severely limit resources to be able to represent everyone in the unit. Just as important, our ability to fight back against those seeking to destroy the union and impose takeaways from workers would be gone. Please visit the AFSCME Strong website for more information on how you can help our union to remain strong.
On Saturday the 23rd LA County Federation of Labor held our annual Martin Luther King breakfast and Congressman John Lewis, who fought for workers’ rights and civil rights alongside of Dr. King, was our special guest speaker. He said to the audience of labor, clergy and community activists “If it hadn’t been for the house of labor, the Civil Rights Movement would have been like a bird without wings”. Today, if we are to survive, and work for our members and community, we have to be strong. We can only be strong with you as a part of the union.
As you know, the contract became effective December 13, 2015. We are now working on implementation. The contract is available online here or directly on our website at www.afscme3090.org. If you have any questions, please call the office at 213 487-9887 ext 340 or attend the next membership meeting on February 3rd at 6:30 p.m.
It looks to be another action-packed year, so get ready! Thank you for everything you do. I look forward to seeing you all stand tall as proud members of AFSCME Local 3090.