September 03, 2013

Celebrating labor in Springfield

Around 200 AFSCME members and retirees used Springfield’s Labor Day parade to highlight the need for tax fairness, retirement security and – in one local’s case – a fair contract.

Members of Local 370 are in a tight contract battle with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Recently, management told the local’s bargaining team that negotiations – which have made little progress since beginning in May – weren’t a priority for the university.

“They’ve made it clear in actions and words that the people who do the work at this school aren’t important to them,” Council 31 staff representative Erik Hostetter said.

The local’s members – which include direct support staff, nurses, clerical workers and academic support staff at the School of Medicine – were among those marching in Springfield on Monday, demanding a fair contract settlement..

They were joined by other AFSCME members as well as retirees. Many were calling for tax fairness – a cause now in the spotlight thanks to A Better Illinois, a campaign to make the state’s income tax fairer to the middle class and small businesses.

Dozens of AFSCME retirees were on hand, highlighting the need for a fair and constitutional solution to the state’s pension crisis – instead of the draconian cuts being pushed by some lawmakers.

To see more AFSCME members and retirees observing Labor Day in Springfield, check out the photo slideshow below.

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