What is happening?

Two change in representation petitions for Inspection, Investigation, and Safety bargaining units, commonly referred to as G4 and G5, were submitted to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) on July 27th, 2022. The petitions halt negotiations for these workers to require an election over whether II&S workers keep their union AFSCME as their exclusive bargaining representative OR switch to representation by Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 92 Labor Services OR have no union representation at all.

Who does this apply to?

The Lodge 92 Labor Services petitions target a subset of Commonwealth Inspection, Investigation, & Safety (II&S) workers. The certifications in question include rank-and-file II&S professionals and 1st level II&S professionals and non-professionals.

How did this happen?

A group of employees in the II&S Units, led by sworn law enforcement classifications, wish to be represented by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 92’s Labor Services division. The group filed a petition to hold a mail ballot election on the matter. If successful, nearly 2,000 employees in these Units, many of whom are not sworn law enforcement, would lose AFSCME as their Union and would instead be represented by the recently created FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services.

Why should I stick with AFSCME as my union?

There are endless reasons why you should stick with AFSCME as your union. First, AFSCME is the union that has represented you and your bargaining unit for decades, and together we have secured major wage increases, benefit improvements, and other substantial gains in and out of the collective bargaining process. Just in the most recent contract, we secured 16.75% in wage increases with no increase in healthcare costs. Even after that contract was signed, AFSCME secured countless side agreements that benefitted members, including pandemic-era agreements that made workplaces safer, put more money in members’ pockets, and offered more paid time off for workers.

And with the next round of state contract negotiations coming up, we need as much input from members and as much strength in numbers as possible. Fragmenting our membership will result in less bargaining power for all employees, AFSCME-represented or otherwise.

Additionally, AFSCME Council 13 has a clear structure for its statewide headquarters, its district councils, and its local unions. Council 13 has dedicated departments focused on Grievance/Arbitration, Education, Legislative Affairs, Communications, AND a Member Resource Center (MRC) with staff representatives ready to take your calls and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Council 13 and its district councils have full-time, highly trained, professional staff representatives across the state, as well as local union officers that represent their fellow members.

You could stand to lose all this, and more, if the outcome of this election is either representation by FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services OR no representation at all. With FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services, you would be represented by an organization that currently has no membership, no dues structure, no history of bargaining, and one paid staff for the entire state who also serves other states. All major bargaining and representation services would be contracted out to the national Labor Services division in Tennessee, which would hire other third-party attorneys. Furthermore, the newly formed organization – with no bargaining history or accomplishments – has admitted to having no real plans for what will happen after the election. They are essentially hoping to build the ship after they are already out to sea.

Between what you know about AFSCME, and what you (don’t) know about FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services, the choice is clear – vote to stick with AFSCME!

How can I get involved in making sure these units remain under AFSCME representation?

First of all, look out for your ballot in the mail and be sure to vote to stay with AFSCME. Beyond that, be sure to have conversations and meetings with your coworkers to educate them about this matter leading up to the vote. Send them to this website. Contact Council 13 at 1-800-5-AFSCME or [email protected] to express your support and learn more about getting involved.

What happens when AFSCME negotiates a new contract?

If the outcome of this representation election is that FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services becomes these units’ bargaining agent, then employees in these units would be frozen in the current contract until Labor Services negotiates a new one. Employees would not benefit from a new AFSCME contract – unless they do the right thing and stick with AFSCME as their union!

As a Non-Member, If I vote to keep AFSCME as our Union, will I automatically become a Member of AFSCME?

No. Voting in this election does not affect your membership status in whichever union wins. Whether you are a Dues-Paying Member or a Non-Member, you will be affected by the outcome of this election. We are encouraging all Members and Non-Members to vote in this election to keep AFSCME as your collective bargaining agent.



Are there two tiers of AFSCME membership?

No. In AFSCME, either you are a member or you are not, and all members are treated equally with the ability to vote on union business and hold officer positions.

According to the FOP Lodge 92 website, there are two tiers of membership within the lodge: 1. Active Membership – for sworn law enforcement; 2. Associate Membership – for all other non-sworn individuals. This means half of the II&S Bargaining Units will only be eligible to join as Associate Members and cannot hold an elected position within the lodge.

With AFSCME, who negotiates my contract?

AFSCME Council 13 has attorneys and a full in-house negotiating team that brings in members from every represented agency to sit across the table from Commonwealth management.

With AFSCME, do I have representation local to me?

Yes. AFSCME Council 13 has eight district councils covering every region of Pennsylvania. All of those district councils have full-time staff representatives assigned to local unions. All of those local unions have officers and stewards. On top of that, Council 13 has a Member Resource Center you can call (at 1-800-5-AFSCME) to get in touch with your staff representative and/or local officers.

What is FOP Lodge 92?

FOP Lodge 92 is a Fraternal Social Club.

What is FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services?

FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services is a separate division of FOP Lodge 92 that will handle the “Union-related” activities. The unit will contract out the “labor services” through its National Division of Labor Services, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The national FOP (AKA the Grand Lodge or the NFOP) enters into written ‘service agreements’ with the lodges and the bargaining units. The Lodge will pay a flat monthly fee for these services. The recently formed FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services has no history of bargaining or representation, no governing documents, and no budget. FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services is a somewhat separate entity, but the Labor Services unit cannot exist without being associated with FOP Lodge 92.

Can FOP Lodge 92 Labor Services guarantee they will take our negotiations to (interest) arbitration?

No. Mandatory Interest Arbitration is legislatively granted to specific units in the public sector, such as Corrections Officers and Police. The classifications within the II&S bargaining units do not qualify for mandatory interest arbitration under current laws.

What happens next?

Should the petitions proceed, affected II&S workers will receive a ballot in the mail to cast their votes. Employees in these units will receive a ballot in the mail to cast their vote and return. Whichever option the majority of voters select will be the outcome for all employees in these units. That ballot will include the options of FOP, AFSCME, or NO REPRESENTATION. Be sure to keep an eye out for your ballot, vote for AFSCME, and return the completed ballot promptly.

We will be providing more information in the coming weeks as developments occur. Please reach out to us at any time if you have any questions or concerns by calling our Member Resource Center at 1-800-5-AFSCME or email at [email protected].