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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed into law a historic bill granting 20,000 state workers the right to collectively bargain.

Last week members of over a dozen labor unions were joined for a breakfast roundtable by a very special guest: freshman Congressman Dean Phillips.

As AFSCME Local 66 celebrates the union’s 100th anniversary this year, members are looking back on their union’s long, rich history – and how it’s impacted their lives, families and communities.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Public service workers across the country lauded the passage of Nevada Senate Bill 135, which expands collective bargaining rights to over 20,000 Nevada state employees – the largest statewide expansion of collective bargaining rights in 16 years.

The bill, expected to be signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak, comes at a time when unions are experiencing the highest level of public support in more than a decade.

Last year, after nearly 25 years of working hard at her job at the University of Michigan, Deborah Van Horn was forced out of work by health issues and soon found herself in need of financial assistance.

“I was put on disability, but after a while you only get about 50 percent of your normal wages,” she recounts. “It was important to me to cover general expenses and keep my credit in good standing.”

EMS Week is a time to recognize the sacrifices that EMS professionals make for their communities and to honor these skilled heroes who rush into danger when we need them most. AFSCME EMS professionals play an essential role in the emergency response system, but their stories—and the wounds they suffer on the job—are often overlooked.

Some people have wild stories about their coworkers. Jill’s, though, are unique.

Jill Erzar is a zookeeper at Como Zoo in St Paul. Her coworkers are giraffes, bison, reindeer, kudu, zebra, and other hooved animals of all shapes and sizes.

Growing up, Jill always loved animals. She considered becoming a veterinarian, and was studying animal health in college before she took an internship at Como Zoo.

“By Day Two, I was a goner,” Jill said. “I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

Minnesota winters are tough. In Rochester, several blizzards brought the entire town to a standstill. Major roads and highways were closed, sometimes for days at a time.

When weather makes it unsafe to travel, Jeff Paulson – better known as Scuffy – hits the road. Scuffy works at MnDOT District 6, which covers Southern Minnesota. In the summer, Scuffy and his MnDOT team inspect bridges, maintain signage, and fix potholes and other road damage. But in the winter, they plow snow.

Members of AFSCME’s law enforcement community take countless risks to keep our communities safe. When those brave heroes make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, our obligation is to never forget them.

National Police Week is a time to honor fallen law enforcement officers, as well as a time for the law enforcement community to stand in solidarity with each other.

Elizabeth Hawkins

Pictured: Elizabeth Hawkins. Member-provided photo.

While we’re known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota could just have easily adopted the moniker ‘Land of Abundant and Delicious Walleye,’ and no one this side of the Wisconsin border would have batted an eye.

Each spring, anglers across Minnesota gear up for one of our state’s most popular pastimes: walleye fishing. But for AFSCME members who work at DNR fish hatcheries, walleye season never ends. From spawning eggs to stocking our beautiful lakes with finger-sized adolescent walleye, our DNR workers labor year-round to ensure a plentiful walleye season for the rest of us.