AFGE Local 2004
American Federation of Government Employees
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Monthly Meeting Alert
The meeting for the month of August has been canceled see below for the next meeting date.
Our next Monthly Meeting will be on Tuesday October 17th 2017
The meeting is held on the third Tuesday of every month.
stop by and get the latest union information at our annual meeting.
Time: 5:00PM- 6:00PM
Date of next meeting: October 17th, 2017
Location: Union Hall building 286
News & Updates
Local and National
AFGE Local 2004 is looking to fill 4th and 5th Vice President positions
- Must be a member in good standing ( Dues paying for a minimum of a year)
- Can only select one position 4th or 5th if you elect both positions you will not be considered for either position
- Submit your interest in writing or by email ( In writing: Address is AFGE Local 2004 P.O. BOX 384, New Cumberland, PA 17070) by email: email@example.com
- Interest for the positions must be received by mail or email no later than November 15, 2017
- Afge Local 2004 current eboard will vote on the canidates that meet the criteria
AFGE Local 2004 Current E-board is listed below:
President: Robert Boutselis
Chief Steward: Randy Elliott
1st VP: Valarie Dickerson
2nd VP: Ryan Engle
3rd VP: Timothy Schaming
Chaplain: Maureen Taylor
Sgt of Arms: Willie D. Weedon
Secretary: Rhonda Green
President of USASAC: Dale Byers
Government Standard Magazine
Check out this months Government Standard Magazine Click Here!
Two Pa. labor leaders reflect on the meaning of Labor Day | Opinion
With another Labor Day upon us, two of Pennsylvania’s most prominent labor leaders, Rick Bloomingdale of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, and David Fillman, of Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, are each reflecting on the meaning of the holiday.
The two submitted separate op-Eds to PennLive. In the interests of making sure both their voices are heard, we are excerpting their op-Eds below.
First up, David Fillman:
More than just the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day is a celebration of the American labor movement. The workers and their unions that power the labor movement are the reason we have paid holidays, vacation days, maternity leave, 40-hour work weeks, overtime pay and even weekends.
These things did not fall from the sky, and they certainly were not given to us by owners or management; they were earned through the unwavering solidarity of union members. Even non-unionized workers benefit from these achievements as unions have set the standard for everyone.
Unions provide a way for workers to band together to develop strength in numbers and level the playing field in what is an increasingly rigged economy; that is why unions have become the target of ultra-wealthy special interests and the politicians who carry out their agendas.
Here in Pennsylvania, legislators are constantly plotting ways to destabilize unions through nice-sounding, ill-intentioned policies like “Right-to-Work” and “Paycheck Protection.”
At the national level, President Donald Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, who will likely rule against working people next year in a case called Janus v. AFSCME. Janus is a court case backed by right-wing groups, again with nice-sounding names, like the National Right to Work Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center, which are dedicated to advancing the agenda of Corporate America by destroying everything the labor movement has fought for.
They mangle the meaning of freedom, and abuse words like “rights,” “protection,” and “liberty,” in order to deceive working people into acting against their own self-interests. All the while, the labor movement actually fights for the rights of workers, protection at the workplace and liberty to collectively bargain.
Freedom is not about union busting; freedom is about having the ability to earn a living, to provide for your loved ones, to be there for those loved ones and to be able to retire with dignity, all of which workers are empowered to do through unionizing.
Here’s Rick Bloomingdale:
Labor Day is a time to remember and honor the achievements of working people across America.
For our country and our Commonwealth, it’s been a long year. Today, we see more opposition from corporate special interests than ever before. Our economy remains skewed in favor of corporations who ship jobs overseas and stash their profits offshore to avoid paying their fair share.
Indeed, the rules of our economy have been rigged by the rich and powerful.
Over the last 25 years worker productivity has increased, yet working people have not received a fair return for their work. Economic inequality has risen, as good-paying, family supporting jobs have disappeared. Trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have failed not only Pennsylvania’s workers, but workers all across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
But working people are fighting back against greed and inequality by joining together. While the labor movement’s preference is to eliminate unfair trade deals like NAFTA in their entirety, politicians in Washington have instead chosen the route of negotiation. As U.S. trade representatives enter the NAFTA renegotiation process, working people and their unions are standing up to rewrite the economic playbook and put workers on a level field.
Pennsylvanians lost more than 330,000 manufacturing jobs since January 1994, that’s more than one-third of industry jobs statewide. Wages have remained stagnant as the cost of living has continued to grow. Young workers see fewer opportunities to have a job with decent wages, good benefits, safe working conditions and a secure retirement than their predecessors.
It’s time for us to rewrite the economic rules in this country. And we can start by renegotiating a NAFTA that works for working people. Just as we worked together to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal that would have delivered yet another blow to workers, we can demand that better protection for working people be the first priority as the United States, Canada and Mexico reconsider NAFTA.
Re- Organization Updates
Please review the documents below for the latest updates on the reorg. pay changes.
Veterans’ Expo & Job Fair
Area veterans of all ages, active military and their families are urged to attend the Veterans’ Expo & Job Fair, a free, one-day event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg, 1150 Camp Hill Bypass, Camp Hill. Presented by OLP Events, the Veterans’ Expo will connect transitioning and retired military members with the benefits and resources available to them through local businesses and organizations. Exhibitors represented will include community service providers, healthcare professionals, VA benefits counselors, education/training providers and business start-up assistance, as well as businesses covering everything from home improvement, legal services, and finance to retirement living and insurance. During the event’s opening ceremony, a deserving veteran will receive a Quilt of Valor created by Stitches of West Brandywine. In addition, the Job Fair is an opportunity for veterans and transitioning military to meet face-to-face with employers to discuss available positions. Job seekers can also visit the Resource Center for advice on resume writing and other helpful information for translating their military careers to civilian opportunities. Sponsors include Disabled American Veterans, The Guide, Pennsylvania American Legion, Pennsylvania National Guard Outreach Office, Pennsylvania State Headquarters VFW, USAA, WHP580/Bob 94.9 FM and WHTM abc27. For more information on the Veterans Expo & Job Fair, call (717) 285-1350 or visit www.veteransexpo.com.
IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment, because it suggests action to be taken in support of or against legislation. Do not use your government email address or government phone in contacting your Member of Congress.
To Fund Tax Cuts for the Rich, Politicians Propose to Slash Pensions and Eliminate Pensions
July 24, 2017
Politicians are reaching into the pockets of public servants, including law enforcement officers, to help fund tax cuts for the wealthiest of all Americans.
The House Budget Committee July 19 approved the 2018 budget plan and sent the bill to the full House with three proposed cuts to federal employees’ pensions:
- Eliminate defined benefit contributions, or pensions, for ALL newly hired federal employees.
- Reduce government contributions into current federal employees’ pensions by requiring employees to contribute more.
- Eliminate supplemental payments to employees who retire before age 62, such as law enforcement agents and firefighters. (The supplement was created because many law enforcement officers, due to the physical demands of their jobs, have to retire early before they become eligible for Social Security, which is part of their retirement package. Click here to Read More
According to the budget resolution – a budget blueprint telling the authorizing committees how much they can spend – the committees can decide what they want to cut, but they have to come up with at least $32 billion. There is no ceiling, so they could cut as much as they want.
AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. calls slashing the civil servants’ retirement to fund tax cuts for the rich is “a shameful way to govern the country.”
“The budget is a slap in the face to all of the workers who care for our veterans, guard our borders, support our military, and keep our air and water clean,” Cox said. “Taking away retirement income from our law enforcement officers, many of whom are veterans, is particularly venomous.”
While federal employees played no role in the creation of the deficit, politicians time and again use “deficit reduction” as an excuse to scapegoat our public servants and line the pockets of millionaires and billionaires.
Rep. John Yarmuth, House Budget Committee ranking member, immediately issued a statement rejecting the resolution.
“Americans deserve a budget that prioritizes their families, their communities, and their securities,” Yarmuth said. “Unfortunately, “[this] budget fails them at every turn. It embraces the worst extremes of the Trump budget, sacrificing nearly every investment that helps American families get ahead in order to give huge tax breaks to millionaires and corporations.”
We can’t let this happen to us
Members of Congress should be working to protect the interests of ordinary Americans, not just the billionaires on Wall Street. This budget blueprint is another example of how our policy has been hijacked by special interests and their allies in Congress.
Call (844) 669-5146 (D.C. Office) and (888) 775-3148 (District office) and tell your member of Congress to reject these immoral cuts. Your representative needs to hear from all of us, not just their wealthy, well-connected friends.
originated from afge.org
IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment because it suggests action to be taken in support of or against the legislation. Do not use your government email address or government phone in contacting your Member of Congress.
Politicians Launch VA Privatization Blitz
July 21, 2017
Study after study has shown that Veterans Affairs hospitals have consistently outperformed private hospitals, but that doesn’t stop politicians from trying to privatize the VA.
During the past few weeks, there have been a number of bills introduced in the Senate to privatize various parts of the Department of Veterans Affairs with the ultimate goal of sending most if not all veterans to for-profit private hospitals. They’re doing this even though veterans have said over and over again that they prefer to be treated at a VA hospital by VA staff – one-third of whom are veterans.
There are 49,000 vacancies at the VA, and the priority should be filling these positions. Coming up with temporary fixes will only create more problems for veterans and weaken the VA health care system. Many veterans who have gone to private hospitals have been slapped with enormous bills as the private hospitals bill them directly. Many veterans were also forced to pick up the tab when their private hospital doctors performed treatment that are outside the scope of the authorization.
Here are some of the bills that would open the floodgate of VA privatization and take away resources from the VA: Click here to Read More
1. The Veterans Choice Act of 2017
Introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, the bill would vastly increase the use of non-VA care through a massive expansion of the Choice privatization program. Like the Concerned Veterans of America plan that was soundly rejected by the Commission on Care, this bill would take away VA funding and put it in the hands of special interests and for-profit hospital CEOs. It would erode the core mission of the VA health care system and threatens its very survival.
2. The Veterans Emergency Room Relief Act (S. 1261)
Without specific guidelines for when veterans can use non-VA urgent care centers, this bill could lead to more fragmented and uncoordinated care, and lead the VA further down the road of privatization.
AFGE urges the Senate VA Committee to first conduct an inventory of emergency departments and urgent care centers within VA medical centers. A number of VA facilities have closed emergency departments over the years without adequate justification. This study should also examine the feasibility of expanded urgent care centers within VA medical centers. Urgent care provided directly by the VA will be far more veteran-centric than urgent care provided in the private sector.
3. The Enhancing Veterans Care Act (S. 1266)
This bill would give the VA authority to contract with non-VA entities to investigate deficiencies at VA medical centers.
AFGE opposes this bill because the VA has adequate internal capacity to investigate its medical centers alone or in conjunction with other independent governmental entities. Contracting out this responsibility is likely to be used to lay the groundwork for further privatization.
4. The Veterans Health Administration Reform Act of 2017 (S. 1279)
This is another attempt to send veterans to for-profit hospitals and line the pockets of private hospital CEOs. We oppose this bill also because the criteria that would be used to determine if a veteran can seek care outside the VA are too vague – e.g. clinical best interest, undue burden, not economical. VA medical centers across the nation continue to be deprived of adequate staff and resources to provide all veterans with the timely, veteran-centric care they have earned and that they prefer. The VA needs to fill 49,000 vacancies, not further depleting resources away from the VA to provide more fragmented, nonspecialized care to veterans.
5. The Better Workforce for Veterans Act of 2017 (S. 1325)
There are provisions that AFGE supports and provisions that we have serious concerns about. AFGE concurs that it is critical to fill the 49,000 vacancies at the VA. But some of the provisions in the underlying bill as currently written fall short of improving hiring, and training efforts within the VA and may have unintended consequences. For example, Section 207 of the bill would allow no less than 500 uniformed health care professionals who are not civil servants and lack the expertise to work at VA medical centers. Using these officers would move the VA one step closer to privatization and undermine VA employees’ voice at work as they will be paid more and likely to receive more favorable treatment than bargaining unit employees.
AFGE also expressed concern about the adverse impact of new hiring authorities on promotion opportunities for current employees.
A much better approach
AFGE supports the Improving Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2017 introduced by Sen. John Tester of Montana. The union lauded the legislator’s efforts to modernize VA services, lay the foundation for VA-run integrated networks, and keep the VA as the primary provider and coordinator of VA care. These provisions protect the critical resources that the VA must retain in order to keep its promise to veterans.
“We support new legislation that will allow for the VA to fill the glaring number of open positions at the agency,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “Veterans want the VA. Veterans need the VA. They have said time and again that they don’t want to be forced out into the private sector with longer wait times, less access to care, and medical professionals ill-equipped to handle their unique needs.”
“Veterans have overwhelmingly said that they want Congress to work on fixing, not dismantling veterans’ healthcare, and Senator Isakson’s bill does nothing of the sort,” said Cox. “We believe that the Improving Veterans Access to Community Care Act of 2017 is a much better approach – albeit with its own faults – to providing veterans options outside of the VA if they so choose.
Originated from AFGE.org
Budget Cuts Will Make Your Next Flight Less Safe
June 09, 2017
On Nov. 1, 2013, a gunman opened fire with a rifle near a checkpoint in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles Airport, killing TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez. Two other TSA officers and a civilian were injured. According to multiple reports, the gunman put his target squarely on TSA officers.
Around the world, terrorists have attacked Click here to Read More
TSA has taken some steps to address airport and checkpoint volume, but any new security measures put in place, albeit incomplete, could disappear if the Trump administration gets its way. Under the White House’s 2018 budget proposal, TSA is facing a budget cut of $500 million. The administration wants to eliminate the Behavior Detection Officer program – the only security fully integrated with TSA monitoring the area between ticketing and check-in. This is the area targeted by terrorists at the Brussels airport and others.
BDOs are trained to objectively spot actions leading to an attack, such as leaving a suitcase or pulling out a weapon.
“It is shortsighted to eliminate such as important component of airport security,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “The program needs to be expanded, not eliminated.”
Elimination of the BDO program is bad enough, but the administration also wants to eliminate TSA’s law enforcement officer reimbursement program, which are grants awarded to state and local jurisdictions to help patrol and secure airports. The budget itself states that the elimination of the law enforcement officer reimbursement program “could lead to reduced law enforcement support at checkpoints.”
Because the budget eliminates the law enforcement officer grants, the common areas between ticketing and checkpoints will most likely be unprotected. It is less likely that a law enforcement officer will be anywhere around if an attack takes place. Passengers, airport and airline employees, and TSA officers will be vulnerable.
“It’s shocking that such an important security measure would be eliminated,” Cox said. “If anything, security of our airports needs to be increased, not decreased.”
AFGE has been calling on TSA to create a new unit of armed TSA law enforcement officers to defend our nation’s airport screening areas around the clock.
This will ensure a consistent, professional, and coordinated response in the event an incident like the LAX shooting occurs again,” Cox added.
Source: AFGE National Website
7 Things Trump Wants to Privatize
June 05, 2017
The Trump administration wants to run the government like a business: all the profits go to those at the top, and the rest of us are left to fight over the scraps.
Less than five months into his presidency, Trump has taken serious steps to hand over major public assets to profit-hungry corporations. From the pro-business cabinet picks to the “Corporate Interests First” budget proposal, the administration makes it clear it wants to deconstruct government agencies, gut regulations that keep us safe from polluters and corporate greed, and sell off public goods for private profit.
The administration is so eager to sell off public assets thatClick here to Read More
Privatizing public assets and federal jobs may sound good for politicians, but it is a bad deal for the American people. Privatizing public assets means allowing greedy corporations to overcharge for things that rightfully belong to all Americans. Privatizing government functions means taking existing money from programs millions of people rely on and cutting them to the bone so their new owners can make an extra buck.
Studies have shown that public-private partnerships (PPPs) just don’t work. They’re expensive and inefficient. A report by the Brookings Institution found that “in practice [PPPs] have been dogged by contract design problems, waste, and unrealistic expectations.”
But these facts are not relevant considering the demands of the well-funded, politically-connected special interests.
Here are seven things the Trump administration wants to privatize right away:
- Federal jobs. The Trump budget lifts the ban on privatization studies of federal jobs, opening a flood gate of wholesale privatization of public jobs. It’s a well-known fact that contractors are two to three times more expensive than federal civilians. Most of the money goes straight to increase the bottom line or enrich the CEOs and executives while workers see their salaries, benefits, and pensions cut.
- Prisons. Federal, state, and local governments have used private prisons for decades, but it was only recently when companies running private prisons drew a public outcry after it was revealed that two thirds of private prisons required that their prisons be 80-90 percent full otherwise the taxpayers would be on the hook for unused beds. The Obama administration decided to phase out private prisons after studies showed they have more safety, sanitary, and security problems than the ones run by the government. Within a month after taking office, however, Trump reversed the Obama-era decision. His budget increases funding for private prisons by $171 million.
- Veterans Affairs health care. The Trump administration expanded the VA privatization program that sends veterans to for-profit private hospitals, which often are inferior to VA hospitals. The Trump budget also cuts benefits for disabled veterans in order to pay for further privatization of veterans care.
- Public schools. The Trump budget cuts funding for public schools and transfers the money to for-profit companies. Public schools are designed to serve all students – rich, poor, healthy, disabled, easy to teach, difficult to teach. Private schools are not. Public schools guarantee equal opportunity and are essential to our country’s common good.
- Air traffic control. The administration has proposed to privatize the country’s air traffic control. This could raise operational costs by 20-29% after 10 years, which means passengers would have to shoulder heftier fees when buying plane tickets. Our current system is the busiest and safest in the world. Privatizing it would create chaos and put our national defense’s surveillance and communications systems at risk.
- Roads and bridges. The administration proposed deep cuts to existing infrastructure programs and divert public money to investors who would rake in profits from highways, bridges, rest stops. As a result, the American people will be forced to pay expensive tolls or fees to use facilities that should belong to us all along.
- Public lands and national monuments. Trump in April signed an executive order directing the Interior Department to review national monuments and “suggest legislative changes or modifications,” laying the groundwork to remove protections on public lands and waters. The order is excellent news for Big Oil and its lobbyists but terrible news for the American public and the environment.
“When we privatize, we’re padding the pockets of CEOs and giving up key aspects of our democratic control,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “Their bottom line is profit, not the American people. In contrast, our government exists for the common good, to make our lives better. We need to fully fund our government programs, not diverting public money to enrich millionaires and billionaires.”
Source: AFGE National Website