Manchester Workers Say "Union Yes," and Join Local 991 of Council 4

Seeking the same rights and protections that other employees have gained through unionization, 54 public service workers in Manchester joined the Council 4 union family.

Our newest union members include:

  • Behavior Technicians, Security Guards, Lead Security Guards and Tiered Interventionists employed by the Manchester Board of Education; and
  • Public Works Technicians and Foremen, Bookkeepers and the Assistant Collector of Revenue employed by the Eighth Utilities Taxing District.

Both groups will become part of AFSCME Local 991, which represents more than 350 town and school employees.

“We’re on the front line of safety and security at every school in town,” Behavior Technician Paul Garcia said. “We organized for better working conditions and protections.”

Security Guard Kimberly Jenkins added. ““We are trained and certified. We need a strong union to help us get better pay and the respect we deserve.”

Council 4 Organizing Coordinator Kelly Martinez and Service Representative Patrick Sampson spearheaded the organizing drive, which culminated in voluntary recognition of the union by the employers after the workers signed union representation cards.

Local 991 President Michael Guillemette, a school custodian at Robertson Elementary in Manchester, praised the workers for stepping up to gain a real voice on the job. “Joining AFSCME will make our school system and our town a better and more equitable place to work,” he said.

What happened in Manchester reflects a nationwide trend, as workers on the front lines of public service are demanding unions because of the value and protections they provide.

More than 300 workers have voted to join Council 4 this year. And in Nevada, 20,000 state employees won the freedom to collectively bargain for wages and improvements on the jobs – the largest statewide expansion of collective bargaining for state workers in 16 years anywhere in the country.

Union members earn higher wages and are more likely to have employer-provided health care, pensions and benefits such as paid sick and family leave.

For women and people of color, unions provide the best vehicle to combat discrimination in the workplace and address the unjust racial and gender pay gap. African American union members earn 19% more – and Latino union workers 28% more – than their nonunion counterparts. In some sectors the difference is even greater. Women who are members of a union earn 21% more than their nonunion counterparts.

 Not only that, public support for unions is at a 15-year high.  

Clearly, as our newest members in Manchester will attest, workers see unions as the most effective vehicle to level the playing field and gain respect on the job.