Frequently Asked Questions About Joining AFSCME

Q: What if the city threatens layoffs for choosing to form a union with AFSCME?

It is illegal for the city to threaten employees who choose AFSCME. Wages, benefits, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment are the “mandatory” subjects within the scope of bargaining, upon which the parties must meet and confer in good faith. If the City is really in bad shape, let them prove it by opening their books.

Q: Will we lose benefits if we choose AFSCME as our union representative?

It is illegal for the city to threaten to reduce benefits if AFSCME is voted in. When you negotiate your first contract with AFSCME, you start with the pay and benefits you have now and negotiate improvements. You decide what to ask for in your contract and then vote on it. The strength of your contract will depend on the strength of you and your coworkers in your union.

Q: Will I have to pay more in dues?

The improvements in pay, benefits, and fair treatment you win with AFSCME are far greater than the cost of dues.  Any organization that works for you and with you is worth paying for. The minimum amount of dues people pay in AFSCME are $42.70 per month for Full Timers (21-40 hrs.). 

Q: I heard we will never get a contract, is that true?

That is false, it is illegal for the City or its proxies to say that you will never get a contract. Since it is illegal to say that directly, they will say, “Remember, we don’t have to agree to what you want in a contract.”  The truth is the City has a duty to negotiate with the union you choose and bargain in good faith.

Q: Can we be discouraged to vote no for AFSCME?

It is illegal for the City to impede on your rights to form or join a union with AFSCME, however before the union election, a so-called “vote no committee” will appear. The anti-union committee will do the dirty work for the City.  They may pass around literature filled with lies about AFSCME or they may spread rumors and insult co-workers who support the union.  The “vote no committee” may be recruited from friends or family members of someone high in management. Usually they are promised special treatment, a promotion, or bribed in other ways for their work. 

Q: Do we have the right to choose AFSCME as our official bargaining representatives?

Yes, under The Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) section 3500 states that, “…in the State of California by providing a uniform basis for recognizing the right of public employees to join organizations of their own choice and be represented by those organizations in their employment relationships with public agencies.”