AFSCME District Council 36

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 As part of Council 36’s member-driven Political and Legislative Action Committee (PLAC), a number of candidates were invited to introduce themselves in the race to serve as assembly member of the 51st district. The candidates: Luis Lopez, Wendy Carrillo, David Vela, Gabriel Sandoval, Ron Birnbaum, Mike Fong, and Alex De Ocampo, are all hoping to increase their viability by soliciting endorsements in labor, including AFSCME.

A Special Election is due sometime in 2018, following the vacancy left by Jimmy Gomez, who had served as Assemblyman in the district. Gomez was just elected to the US House of Representatives, with AFSCME’s strong support. The meeting provided an opportunity for AFSCME members to consider the best contender in the fight for labor rights.


Among other issues, AFSCME members asked candidates about pension “reform,” impending national “Right to Work” laws, and a new US Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME, which will likely destroy the ability of public employee unions to collect “fair share” fees from non-members whom they represent. Other questions focused on state and local issues such as reforming commercial property taxes through a referendum on Prop 13, the scourge of outsourcing , the affordable housing crisis and the rise of for-profit charter schools.

Though all of the candidates are members of the Democratic Party, they sought to differentiate themselves on a swath of issues. The candidates represented a cross section of some of Los Angeles’ diverse communities, including immigrant neighborhoods in Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Silver Lake and Chinatown. Several spoke about having benefitted from public services in their lifetime, and how they wish to return the favor by fighting for public service workers and programs if elected.

The PLAC will be making recommendations to Council 36’s Executive Board for formal endorsement over the coming months. There may be further opportunities to meet the candidates at AFSCME closer to the election.
 

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Council 36 convened a day-long Local Leadership Summit on Saturday, June 10, in San Pedro, to highlight effective power-building strategies in the face of a major new United States Supreme Court threat to unions.

This threat, Janus v. AFSCME, could overturn the landmark case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which since the 1970s has required “Agency Fee Payers” (bargaining unit members who opt out of becoming full union members) to pay their fair share for the representation and services that they receive.

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L.A.’s Next Member of Congress: AFSCME Brother, Jimmy Gomez

State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez won the 34th Congressional District seat, in a hotly contested race to represent this largely Latino district, which stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Boyle Heights and incorporates Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Koreatown. Gomez was a staff representative at AFSCME in years past and has been a soldier fighting on behalf of working families in public office. Council 36 provided financial support to reelect Gomez, as well as boots on the ground to walk precincts and canvass voters door to door.

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Both on the ground and behind the scenes, AFSCME is constantly hard at work fighting for workers’ rights on behalf of our members. Our latest efforts behind the scenes take Council 36 to Sacramento, where we’re working as official sponsors with several LA-area legislators in the State Assembly to pass three different bills into law. Building on existing labor laws, passing these bills will expand the legal rights and protections of public workers, strengthening our hand at the bargaining table. Read more >>>

Among the 2017 winners of the AFSCME Family Scholarship, awarded annually to graduating high school seniors, is Silver Ballardo, a student from Cerritos High School.

Growing up, Silver Ballardo saw how the union supported her family and her father, AFSCME member and current Local 2229 President Anthony Ballardo.

In her essay, she tells the story of how AFSCME protected her father’s job following a serious injury at work. When administrators started discussing plans of a settlement and releasing him from the job, turning to AFSCME changed the course.

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