Hello AFSCME Family! Some of our members have had questions since our sign-making party this week, and we want to address those! Kristy Kemper-Hodge, Reference Librarian, created this Q & A for you!
Q: When volunteers or community members approach us with comments like, “We hear you’re striking,” how should we respond?
A: It’s best to be honest! Try saying something like – “We are hoping that a strike will be a last resort, and that we can avoid one. However, we’re preparing in case it does come to that. In the meantime, we really need the support of union and community members to make phone calls, attend rallies, and attend City Council meetings.” The more action we take now, the more likely it is that we’ll keep our medical stipend. There will be plenty of warning in the event of a strike.
Q: Are we allowed to talk with our casual (sub) staff about needing their support if we go on strike?
A: We are able to speak freely at work thanks to our First Amendment rights. However, we should speak with our sub staff during breaks or meal periods about needing their support if we go on strike. Casuals are at-will employees and so they can be fired for being on strike. It is best for them to not answer phone calls from management if they are called to work. Voicemail is a good tool.
Q: I see that we’re making picket signs and planning a rally… does that mean we’re striking?
A: No, we are not striking at this time. We are, however, planning a rally for Monday 10/15 in the evening at the City Council meeting. Carrying signs expressing our concerns and what we’re looking for is normal at any rally. To help avoid confusion, we intentionally did not include the word “strike” on any picket signs.
Q: I’ve heard that management is planning for what to do in case of a strike. Is that true?
A: Yes, they are preparing, just as we are. City management started circulating a strike preparedness plan months ago, and our negotiations team is aware of this. Remember that, if we want to keep our medical stipend and be made whole, we must be ready to act. Going to a rally now is easier than going on strike later.
Q: Will there be a follow-up meeting after Monday’s mediation session about next steps for the union?
A: Yes! Come to the City Council meeting Monday evening to hear how the day’s mediation went, participate in the rally and meeting, show your support, and hear about what our next steps will be. We’ll all know more after Monday’s mediation session.
- We need you! All of us together, fighting for the same goal, and showing up in numbers is what makes us strong and shows the city we’re serious about our healthcare and a fair contract!
- Striking is withholding your labor. Going to a rally is expressing an opinion.
- There’s time to take action! Make phone calls! Come out Monday to the Madison Ave Meeting Room between 12-2pm for sodas and chocolate to go with your lunch, and rub shoulders with other members. Then, come ready to rally Monday evening at the City Council meeting. We’re gathering between 5:15-5:30pm at the downtown fire station and will stay through the comments part of the meeting. Support our members who will be speaking and sharing their stories during the meeting!
- Do not wear city uniforms to Mondays’ rally. Instead, wear your AFSCME shirts, buttons, and green clothing to show solidarity!
- We want to discourage members who are on new-hire probation from participating in a strike if we have one. Members who have passed their probationary period are protected during a strike; members on probation are not.
- Our stewards, negotiations team, and member engagement team are here for you! Let us know if you have questions, concerns, or want to get more involved.