PennDOT employee, AFSCME member loses life on the job

Posted on 08/12/2016

Just as the vital services that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) workers provide Pennsylvanians everyday often go unnoticed and under-appreciated, the same goes for the risk those workers face doing their jobs.

AFSCME Council 13 is deeply saddened to report that eight-year PennDOT employee and AFSCME Local 2604 (Tech. Services – District 3) member Harold “Don” Whipple passed away at the age of 33 after being critically injured in a traffic crash on August 3.

There will be a benefit ride on Sunday, August 14, to raise money for Don’s family as well for the family of Andy Puhlick who was injured in the crash. We encourage anyone to contribute what they can to help the families get through a very difficult time. Click here to see the flier for the benefit ride. 

>>Read the Full Article

UPDATE: Tentative agreement and changes to health benefits

Posted on 08/11/2016

There has been a massive online response to the news that AFSCME Council 13 reached a tentative agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the agreement was approved by Council 13’s Statewide Policy Committee. The next step is for the tentative agreement to go to Local Unions for the members to vote on.

Council 13 has purposely not released much information about the details of the tentative agreement to the general public so members can see it first. The intention is for the detailed information to get to the membership through their Local leadership.

While Council 13 has held the information closely, details about the tentative agreement have spilled out, causing some confusion and misinformation to get out there.

Here are a few things AFSCME Council 13 members need to know regarding this issue:

  • If you have any questions about the tentative agreement, reach out to your Local leadership; they should have the correct information. If that does not work for you, contact your District Council office and speak with your Staff Representative. You can find your District Council here.
  • There are changes to health benefits coming, but these changes are not part of the tentative agreement and are not being voted on. These are changes made by the Pennsylvania Employee Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF) Trustees that had to occur no matter what happened with contract negotiations.
  • On 1/1/17, everyone (except legislators) from the governor on down, including SEIU, UFCW, PSCOA and 20 other unions, will see the exact same health care changes as us. These changes are an attempt to stop the PEBTF from ending up with a $160 million deficit. This is all part of an effort to maintain the fund’s reserves due to escalating costs, especially in Specialty Drug. If the fund gets to an excess of 4.5 months of reserve, we can attempt to roll back the higher deductibles.
  • Just like with the details of the tentative agreement, we are trying to allow our members to get the details of the changes to health benefits before it gets to the general public, which is why we are not including many details here. Reach out to your Local leadership or Staff Representative for more details about the changes to health benefits.
  • Again, the changes to health benefits ARE NOT part of the tentative agreement and ARE NOT a contractual matter to be voted on

AFSCME Council 13 reaches tentative 3-year agreement with Commonwealth

Posted on 08/03/2016

Harrisburg, PA (August 3, 2016) – Following many negotiation sessions in the past months, Council 13’s State Policy Committee unanimously approved a three-year tentative agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. AFSCME members in Pennsylvania will be voting on the ratification of the proposed state contract over the course of the next month.

AFSCME Council 13 will not release any details of the tentative agreement until our members have been notified.

“I am pleased with the outcome given the current climate in Harrisburg,” said Council 13 Executive Director David Fillman.

“Our members are cognizant of the challenges in the state budget, as well as the costs to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, but I feel this is a fair proposal for all given the work our members do to make this Commonwealth happen.”

AFSCME Council 13 is the largest public employee union in Pennsylvania representing the most Commonwealth employees, totaling more than 40,000. Full results will be posted on once all local unions have voted.

Organizing Victory!

Posted on 07/28/2016

The professional counselors at the Lancaster County Prison voted by a count of 10-0 on both to join AFSCME, and to be included in the non-professional bargaining unit with the corrections officers AFSCME currently represents. This brings 12 workers to AFSCME ranks. Congratulations and welcome to the AFSCME family!

District Councils 89 and 90 to host Unity Day

Posted on 07/27/2016

Please join your AFSCME sisters and brothers at the AFSCME Conference Center (150 S. 43rd St., Harrisburg, PA 17111) 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 for Unity Day! This event is hosted by District Councils 89 and 90, and offers all AFSCME-represented employees (including Fair Share fee payers) an opportunity to get some free food, fun and information about their union. If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email with your name, local union number and the number of family guests who will be attending with you to by August 5, 2016.

Council 13 members filmed for AFSCME International project

Posted on 06/24/2016

AFSCME members perform a lot of different jobs in Pennsylvania and all throughout America. Some of the jobs are better-known than others. For example, there are clerical workers, PennDOT crews and sanitation workers, to name a few, but AFSCME also represents corrections officers, demolition crews, and DCNR employees; all invaluable public services that sometimes can go unnoticed.

Some AFSCME Council 13 members took time out of their busy schedule to let a film crew come in and film them doing their everyday tasks. Each job is unique, and the purpose of the film shoot was to show the uniqueness of not only the job, but the member as well. The video will premiere at the AFSCME International Convention next month in Las Vegas, and Council 13 is proud to have its members showcased in front of more than 1,000 of our brothers and sisters.

>>Read the Full Article

Commonwealth Negotiations Update

Posted on 06/23/2016

Negotiators for both AFSCME and the Commonwealth met in August 2015, and then on April 28th, May 17th and June 6, 7, 14, 15, and 20th. Council 13 negotiators and 110 Rank-and-File AFSCME members entered negotiations seeking reasonable wage increases and continuation of healthcare coverage with little to no increases in employee contributions. Negotiators also sought other items of concern AFSCME members submitted in the Contract Times surveys.

The Commonwealth sought significant changes in employee healthcare contributions for current employees and for retirees. The Commonwealth proposed that healthcare payments would no longer be based on a percent of salary, but based on a percent of the premium. The premiums would vary depending on the employee’s choice of healthcare coverage, but would increase substantially.

Because this proposal would significantly increase the cost of healthcare for all bargaining units, AFSCME negotiators rejected it. There were lengthy discussions about cost saving that could be achieved to avoid moving to a percent of premium. However, negotiators were unable to reach a final agreement on healthcare.

Regarding wage increases, AFSCME negotiators sought a three-year contract with reasonable wage increases in each year of the contract. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth maintained that its current budget deficit of $2 billion precludes it from making a wage proposal that the union finds acceptable. As a result, the negotiators unanimously agreed that further discussions be postponed. We are now looking to schedule future dates.

If the parties are unable to meet before the expiration of the current agreement (6/30/16), AFSCME-represented Commonwealth employees will continue to work under the conditions set forth in the expired agreement. 

AFSCME-represented Commonwealth employees should feel free to reach out to their Local Union's negotiator or contact their District Council staff representative for further updates and information.

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AFSCME Council 13 AFSCME Council 13 26 August 2016, 11:08
RT @HillaryClinton: We've made our union more perfect because people refused to be kept on the sidelines. Onward. #WomensEqualityDay