October 17, 2017

AFSCME continues to provide assistance to residents of Puerto Rico, who remain in a state of misery weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled the commonwealth. More than 12,000 AFSCME members, and thousands of retirees, call Puerto Rico home.

According to  The New York Times, "83 percent of the island was still without power, 36 percent had no running water and 45 percent was without telecommunication services." Some 40 percent of the island still lacks clean drinking water. 

Which is why members of AFSCME Local 1550 and  HOPE AFSCME Local 123 were proud to be part of a larger effort to send vital supplies to Puerto Rico.

Read more about our relief efforts

Please consider donating today!
  • AFSCME Local 685 is encouraging members to help our Puerto Rico sisters and brothers by donating to our union's Fallen Heroes Fund. The fund provides relief and immediate assistance to those who fall victim to natural disasters and other tragedies. 
  • Please donate today!

Unions Assisting Probation Officers Involved in Las Vegas Shooting

Several LA County Probation Officers were caught in the hail of bullets during the horrific October 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas. 

We are responding to the needs of our members involved in this event,  such as applying for assistance from the California Victim Compensation Board. 

Additionally, Local 685, along with other probation Unions, are forming a Peer Response Team to visit or call members who are involved in traumatic events like the Las Vegas massacre.
From the California Victim Compensation Board:
  • The California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) is encouraging residents impacted by the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Sunday, October 1 in Las Vegas to contact them at (800) 777-9229 for assistance, guidance, and aid.
  • Help is available for survivors of those who were killed, anyone who was injured and those in attendance at the concert, as well as their immediate family members.
  • CalVCB can help pay for funeral expenses, medical bills, mental health treatment, lost wages and more. Applications are available on CalVCB's website at www.victims.ca.gov.
  • CalVCB can also help victims and their families apply to both the California Victim Compensation Program and the Nevada Victim Compensation Program, in order to maximize the benefits available in each state. Survivors and family members are encouraged to apply now, regardless of whether expenses have been incurred.
  • For those who would like assistance in applying, or want to know more about resources available, click here to contact your local victim advocate
Peace Officer's killed or injured during the Las Vegas Shooting:
  • 2 LASD deputies shot (one sergeant, one deputy)
  • 1 Ontario police officer shot in head (now in critical but stable condition; his wife was also shot and is in stable condition)
  • 2 Manhattan Beach police officers were shot
  • 1 LAPD officer was shot
  • 1 Orange County Sheriff's Deputy was shot
  • 2 Los Angeles county firefighters were shot
  • 1 Colorado police officer shot
  • 1 Las Vegas police officer was killed
Local 685 Making Progress at Board of Supervisors Meeting
At their October 3 meeting, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn to initiate a taskforce that will assist in advancing probation reform in the County.
"Options for achieving ongoing monitoring, accountability and transparency through an independent and public body (Taskforce), as well as an analysis for extending and magnifying the responsibilities of the existing Probation Commission (Commission) to accomplish comprehensive oversight of the Probation Department and report findings and/or conclusions of reform efforts regularly to the general public, with the review to center on the legal provisions and charter of the Commission in order to determine if and/or how the Commission could be re-purposed to fit this function, as well as options for achieving ongoing monitoring internally of the Department."
The original motion did not include any labor involvement; however, through the diligent efforts of Local 685 President Ralph Miller, the Board agreed that the Taskforce shall include members of Local 685, along with participation from other Probation Unions. 

Local 685 Helping with Capitol Hearings
President Miller has been working with Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer to bring the voices of probation officers to the Capitol in Sacramento. Assembly member Jones-Sawyer has confirmed that the committee hearings on probation issues will  take place in December.
Local 685 is now tasked with organizing a white paper to describe how the hearings will be structured. We will be gathering members to participate in these hearings from the halls, camps and transportation -- along with other areas of Probation. Topics that will be discussed during these hearings will be: 'What has happened to LA County Probation?' and 'Why is there so much discipline?'
Local 685 Stewards Meeting Held at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall
At the Stewards meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28, President Ralph Miller began the discussion with an overview of progress Local 685 is making. This discussion included loss of SHU and the creation of the HOPE Centers. Ralph talked about the letters we recently sent to the Board of Supervisors concerning the SHU and Hope Centers, and will keep members apprised as solutions are developed.
There was discussion about our last contract raises, extra sick time, and assaults on staff by minors. Ralph urged the staff to protect themselves if minors attempt to assault them, including calling the police when necessary. 

Camps VP Eddie Chism explained, "I deal with staff in all Halls and Camps. I constantly encourage staff to follow department protocols and remember that if you get assaulted, write it up! This is one way you can defend yourself."
Several staff mentioned that there too many investigations underway, and staff are waiting too long for communication and resolution from the Department. Ralph then explained, "We are very concerned about length of time investigations are taking, and we are working on ways to encourage the department to expedite them."
Ralph continued, "We stopped talking to the Chief three months ago because she stopped listening and continues to discipline our members. Now we are meeting directly with Board of Supervisors who were astonished when we showed them that the probation department reports directly to them, not the Chief of probation."
Chief Steward Jonathan Byrd added, "The Department is defying county policy regarding the length of time an investigation should take. When year runs out they still try to discipline our members, and we sometimes must go to court. Now, ERCOM is back in operation but they have a backlog."
Chief Steward Byrd talked about the importance of staff members being in touch with the Union and being aware of the progress Local 685 is making. Members are encouraged to attend monthly Union meetings, and read the E-gram to keep informed. To be certain everyone is receiving the information from the Union, members should be sure Local 685 has their personal email.
Ralph reported that he and GSN VP Cory Racusin met with GSNs to address the multiple problems with Hold Overs at Los Padrinos. Cory described the importance of knowing the hold over policy and documenting when you have been held over.
Member Comments:
  • DSO Stinnett, a staff member at Los Padrinos, explained that he felt the staff was so traumatized and frustrated not knowing from day to day whether they will have their jobs, that there was an out pouring of emotion, which overshadowed a great deal of what the meeting could have accomplished. He felt those members were not in tune with the work the Union is doing. The Union is doing a good job; but, the Union has to talk more about what they have done rather than planning our next steps -- which keeps us moving forward.
  • DSO Clark, who is a Sylmar staff member, commented that she had come to the meeting prepared to ask certain questions, and knew of several other people who had key points they wanted to ask about. However, for some of us, it was a missed opportunity, because staff who did not come to meetings were out of touch with what was happening, and simply came to vent.

Governor Jerry Brown Signs Seven Juvenile Bills Into Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a slate of seven juvenile justice bills into law on Wednesday, October 11, highlighting a push for sentencing reform and greater support for the rights of youth and families involved with the justice system.
The new laws include the following:
  • AB 529 will require counties to seal juvenile records once a charge has been dismissed.
  • AB 1308 provides greater opportunities for parole for offenders who were sentenced to long prison terms before the age of 25.
  • SB 190 will abolish the practice of assessing fees on the families of youth who are involved with county juvenile-justice systems.
  • SB 312 allows courts to seal the records for certain offenses committed by juveniles.
  • SB 394 allows offenders who were sentenced to life without parole sentences as juveniles to be eligible for parole hearings after 25 years, bringing the state into line with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
  • SB 395 will require all children 15 years or younger to consult with an attorney before being able to waive their Miranda rights during a police interrogation.
  • SB 625 allows youth who successfully complete a probation term after being released from the state's Department of Juvenile Justice to earn an honorable discharge.
Several of the bills were part of a package of bills sponsored by state Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who helped rally thousands to Sacramento in August for a free concert featuring the rapper Common in support of criminal justice reform.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The annual campaign raises awareness of breast cancer risks, the value of screening and early detection, and treatment options available to women and men who are diagnosed with one of the many forms of breast cancer. 

More than 249,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year, and nearly 41,000 die from the disease.
Over the years, a loop of pink ribbon has come to symbolize breast cancer awareness. Today the image of a pink ribbon can be found emblazoned on thousands of products, from apparel to dishware to office supplies. But there's more to awareness than just wearing pink. 

In This Issue...
Calendar of Events

S tewards Meeting: 
Oct. 26, 7:30 PM

General Membership Meeting:
Nov. 2, 7:30 PM

Stewards Meeting:
Nov.16, 7:30 PM

Member Benefits

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Education & Trainings

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