The history of AFSCME began in 1932, as the country suffered through a severe economic depression, when a small group of white-collar professional state employees met in Madison, Wisconsin, and formed what would later become Wisconsin State Employees Union/Council 24. The reason for the group’s creation was simple: to promote, defend and enhance the civil service system. They also were determined to help spread the civil service system across the country.
State employees feared that politicians would implement a political patronage or “spoils” system and thousands of workers would lose their jobs. Meetings were held, marches and demonstrations were organized, and the Wisconsin State Employers Association saved the civil service system in Wisconsin. By the 1930s, such organizations existed in major cities and states around the country, saving the civil service system nationwide. In 1936, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) granted a charter for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
A powerful video featuring key moments in the history of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), including the union's organizing campaigns, fights to protect Social Security and pass affordable health care for all and the current battle to save and rebuild America's working middle class.
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