President’s Message – July 2015

July 2015

Ken Deitz (President)


The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is coming to our doorstep. I’ve warned you about them before. They’re the organization run by the billionaire Koch Brothers who are determined to gut our rights to bargain collectively and have a voice in politics. On July 22nd, ALEC used lobbyist money from large corporations to pay for hundreds of politicians and out-of-town millionaires and billionaires to be wined and dined at a lavish resort in San Diego. While we’re lucky that ALEC and their allies don’t have as much power in Sacramento as other state capitols, their convention here tells us they are coming after California. They will present legislators with draft legislation, away from the prying eyes of voters, to benefit only the rich and powerful—laws to keep paychecks low, corporate welfare high and restrict the rights of unions.

Why California? Because in many ways, we are a model for the nation. We were first to pass safe nurse-to-patient ratios. Our cities have been raising the minimum wage. ALEC wants to turn all that around. As nurses and health care professionals, we cannot have this agenda here. With the patient and worker protections we’ve won over the years, we have too much to lose. So let me echo what you’ve often heard from our Political Department. Become an AFSCME PEOPLE MVP and get involved in this fight. In addition to the threat from ALEC, the U.S. Supreme Court recently granted review of Friedrichs v California Teachers Association, a case challenging agency shop and fair share laws and regulations that have stood for more than 35 years and that we depend on to keep our unions strong. We cannot sit around and wait for the fight to come to us; we need to bring the fight to them.

On a more positive note, I want to celebrate two huge victories. In our Kaiser National Agreement, among other big wins we firmed up retirement security for decades to come—setting ourselves dramatically apart from non-Coalition unions who represent the Kaiser RNs up north and stuck their own retirees, current and future, with higher medical co-pays and ever-increasing premiums, making retirement security for them a thing of the past. We also restored the frozen pensions of the Kaiser Southern California Pharmacists, who lost them under their former union. This was their number one bargaining priority, and an incredible feat that we could not have achieved without hundreds of our members showing up in blue during bargaining, and the tremendous solidarity of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. It went down to the wire, but we would not take no for an answer.

In unity,
Ken Deitz, RN

Previous Messages

President’s Message – Fall 2015 Oct 2015
President’s Message – May 2015 May 2015
President’s Message – March 2015 Mar 2015
President’s Message – January 2015 Jan 2015
President’s Message – November 2014 Nov 2014
President’s Message – September 2014 Sep 2014
President’s Message – July 2014 Jul 2014
President’s Message – May 2014 May 2014
President’s Message – March 2014 Mar 2014
President’s Message – January 2014 Feb 2014
President’s Message – July 2013 Jul 2013
President’s Message – May 2013 Jun 2013
President’s Message – March 2013 Mar 2013
President’s Message – January 2013 Jan 2013
President’s Message – November 2012 Nov 2012
President’s Message – September 2012 Oct 2012
President’s Message – July 2012 Aug 2012
President’s Message – June 2012 Jun 2012
President’s Message – March 2012 Mar 2012
President’s Message – January 2012 Jan 2012
President’s Message – October 2011 Oct 2011
President’s Message – July 2011 Jul 2011
President’s Message – June 2011 Jun 2011
President’s Message – April 2011 Apr 2011
President’s Message – February 2011 Feb 2011
President’s Message – December 2010 Dec 2010
President’s Message – September 2010 Sep 2010
President’s Message – July 2010 Jul 2010
President’s Message – March 2010 Mar 2010
President’s Message – January 2010 Jan 2010
President’s Message – November 2009 Nov 2009
Testimony at the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee Meeting Aug 2009
Kathy J. Sackman | Make a Difference Video Aug 2009