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AFSCME Brothers and Sisters –

First, let us thank you for the work you perform day-in and day-out, and for your dedication to public service and to the citizens of Pennsylvania. It takes a special type of person to be able to perform this type of work, and for that AFSCME, and I, commend you and thank you.

As you may (or may not) be aware, there is a drive by a group of your coworkers to remove AFSCME as your exclusive representative for collective bargaining purposes. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 92 Labor Services recently filed petitions with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to raid the Inspection, Investigation & Safety (II&S) Bargaining Units and go to a vote to decide: 1. Keep AFSCME as your bargaining representative; 2. Leave AFSCME and go to FOP; or 3. Have no Union representation.

Your current position with the Commonwealth is part of an II&S bargaining unit, as it was originally organized by AFSCME Council 13 over 50 years ago. In a few weeks, you will receive a ballot in the mail and have a very important decision to make that will affect your Union representation.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is an association that protects and promotes the police and sworn law enforcement officers across this nation. Sworn Law enforcement officers are among the front lines of public service and AFSCME commends them for the work they do day in and day out, and the impact they have on our communities.

AFSCME Council 13 has a proud and accomplished history of representing public sector and front-line workers such as yourself in Pennsylvania and every other state across the nation. We stand by those accomplishments, as we are firm in our mission and conviction that all workers deserve dignity and respect in their workplace, no matter the industry, sector, or occupation.

Though we are proud of our history and accomplishments at Council 13, we are not ignorant to the fact that we can do better. Our organization is a democratic institution that is shaped by our membership. New leadership, as elected by AFSCME members, brings with it an assessment of what we do well and what we admittedly need to adjust, advance, or change.

FOP Lodge 92 has launched a campaign based upon misleading information in an attempted raid of YOUR AFSCME bargaining unit. At AFSCME Council 13, we do not claim to be perfect, but we have – and always will be – straight with you. The right to collectively bargain does not mean the union will always be successful in every battle – but it is a right which we hold sacred that gives you the ability to fight, to have a voice, and to have a seat at the table. There will be wins and losses. One thing I, and AFSCME, will not do, is make promises we cannot keep.

There are real questions that you should be asking that at the very least reveal the need for further investigation. It is without question that there are uncertainties involved.

In the coming weeks leading up to the election, we ask you to not take this decision lightly. There are real consequences to the outcome of this election. There is absolute truth to the idea of “Strength in Numbers” at the bargaining table.

AFSCME members have and always will run this Union. Your voices can and will be heard, and the changes you demand are currently at your fingertips. Workers joining together and demanding better working conditions is always a noble venture and is the heart and soul of this great union.

We will be reaching out to you, and we ask you to join us and take the time to ask any questions and address any concerns you may have. Our genuine hope is that you will be armed with unprejudiced facts and information that will allow you to make an educated and objective decision when you place your ballot in the mail.

As always, please reach out to out Member Resource Center with any questions, thoughts, concerns, or requests by calling 1-800-5-AFSCME (237263) or emailing us at [email protected]. There are trained professional Staff Representatives ready to speak with you regarding any work- or union-related matter.

In Solidarity,

David Henderson
Executive Director, AFSCME Council 13

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day 2023

January 9, 2023, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. This occasion comes once a year, but the contributions and sacrifices of law enforcement officers and employees are constant – and our gratitude is immeasurable.

That is why your union is so proud to go to bat for its thousands of members in this difficult, yet vital line of work.

AFSCME fights for the law enforcement members we represent on the job and at the bargaining table, as well as for all brothers and sisters in law enforcement throughout our great nation.

That fact was clearly demonstrated by AFSCME’s fierce advocacy in the United States Congress for full and increased funding of law enforcement and a variety of public safety programs:

AFSCME’s Public Safety Legislative Wins in the 117th Congress (2021-2022)

The Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022: Expands the Department of Justice’s Public Safety Officer Benefit program (PSOB) to include coverage for officers who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress or acute stress disorder including officers who have contacted employee assistance programs for mental health assistance or have died by suicide from exposure to a traumatic event they encounter while on duty. This bill passed Congress with AFSCME support and was signed into law in August 2022.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Law Enforcement Training Act: Authorizes and provides funding for training and best practices for first responders and public safety officers to recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of an individual in crisis due to a TBI or repeated exposure to traumatic events. The bill also requires a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study on the prevalence and incidence of concussion among first responders. Both the Public Safety Officer Support Act (P.L. 117-172) and TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Act (P.L. 117-170) were bipartisan bills that had strong AFSCME support and were signed into law by President Biden in August 2022.

Retirement Fairness for Corrections Officers and Forensic Security Employees: Within the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 an amendment was included that eliminates the 10% federal tax penalty on state and local Corrections Officers and Forensic Security Employees’ retirement plan withdrawals taken after retiring from, or otherwise leaving their job, as early as age 50. Effective Dec. 29, 2022, this law (P.L. 117-328) now provides equal treatment for other public safety officers who were already exempt from the tax penalty. AFSCME continues to be a leading voice on Capitol Hill and will continue to advocate for funding and benefits to be equal for all public safety officers.

Increased Funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program: The U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Byrne-JAG program is the country’s leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. Designed to provide flexible funding to address a jurisdiction’s most pressing public safety challenges, it can be used for staffing issues, training and equipment, and to enhance rehabilitative programs in police, corrections and other criminal justice agencies/departments. In fiscal year (FY) 2023 Byrne-JAG was increased by $96.3 million dollars for a total of $771 million in dedicated funding.

Increased Funding for COPS, COPS Hiring, COPS Improvements: DOJ’s primary programs to award state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire and train law enforcement officers to participate in community policing, purchase and deploy new crime-fighting technologies, and develop and test new and innovative policing strategies. The COPS programs received a $150.8 million increase for a total of $663 million.

Full Funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grants Program: The critical DOJ program that provides up to 50% of the cost of armored vests for state, local and tribal jurisdictions public safety officers. In FY 2023, the program was fully funded at $30 million.

Your union continues to advocate for all of those in law enforcement who keep our communities safe every single day. Thank you for all you do, and please stay safe.

Join Us!

Would you like to join your coworkers in the fight to keep AFSCME as your Union? Will you protect your contract and the ability to have your voice heard in the upcoming negotiations with the Commonwealth? Please fill out the form below and a Staff Representative will reach out to you!

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