Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Americorps Workers Should be Employees, not "Volunteers"

We've heard about the working conditions at Walmart and fast food jobs were bad, but have you heard about Americorps? Check out this e-mail IWW Union Delegate Alex Lotorto sent back to the Public Allies' fundraiser.

As an alum of Public Allies and during my time in the program, I became very aware of the ambiguous employment status of Public Allies and Americorps members at large. I've concluded Americorps workers need to be classified as employees and given the rights of employees for me to support the program vocally or financially.

Currently, the only rights under labor law afforded to Americorps workers are the Family Medical Leave Act and workers compensation. Rights that are denied include harassment and discrimination protection by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration protection, the right to form a union, the right to unemployment compensation, and the right to access state labor departments to resolve wage disputes and harassment on a state level.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Received this in an Americorps Alums e-mail, contact e-mail was and website
Good Evening,

Tonight we received an update from AmeriCorps Alums on the status of the impact on AmeriCorps with the continued government shutdown.

As you know, the Corporation for National and Community Service closed their offices and website in response to the recent shutdown. There has been much confusion on what will be affected and what will not be affected during this shutdown period.

State and National AmeriCorps members will continue to serve and will continue to receive their stipends, as normal. FEMA Corps will also continue to serve and receive their stipends with no change.

NCCC members who are actively in the field serving will continue to serve.  However, those members who are not actively on assignments will not be deployed for future assignments during the shutdown, but will receive appropriate lodging. Although not confirmed, these members will likely lose their living allowance in the case of a long-term shutdown.

The nearly 8,000 VISTA members currently serving will still continue to serve.  Match VISTAs (1/3 of all VISTAs) will not be affected and will still receive their stipends. It was just announced today that the remaining 2/3 Standard VISTAs will receive 64% of their normal living stipend this Friday. After Friday, those VISTAs are still expected to serve, but will not receive any living allowance until the shutdown is over. VISTAs will receive backpay for that period.

What Alum Chapters Can Do

It has always been truthful and evident that AmeriCorps members and alums rise up to challenges. It is in our pledge that we carry for our lifetime that when we are "Faced with Adversity, I will persevere". As a community of current and past members, it is our duty to come together in this unique time to help one another. Many chapters across the nation such as San Antonia, Sacramento, Portland, and Washington DC have already gathered to show the strength of the AmeriCorps community.

AmeriCorps Alums has asked out chapter to come together specifically for those Standard VISTAs currently serving who will still be expected to serve at their agencies without pay after this Friday. Our parent organization has called on us to organize pot lucks and food drives for these VISTA members.

If you are a current Standard VISTA in need of assistance, please feel free to contact us directly so we can better help you with your needs.

In the meantime, your Pittsburgh AmeriCorps Alum executive board will be meeting to discuss immediate actions we can take to help our fellow members. Additionally, if you are interested in participating in a pot luck or food drive, please contact us.

Thank You,

Jeremy Martin
Community Service Chair

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We are a general membership union for all Americorps workers, current and alumni. We pledge to defend each other and advocate for the expansion of Americorps funding and job opportunities against any attacks or cuts. In our jobs, we are paid by the federal government through non-profit corporations to serve communities with a diversity of direct assistance including teaching, counseling, labor, community organizing, health, the arts, and administrative support. 

We commit ourselves to struggling for workplace democracy, protection of our rights, openness, and yet unrecognized reforms within the Americorps program. It is only by organizing a union among Americorps workers that we can grow our power to participate in the decision-making that affects us and our world.

We are a project of the Pittsburgh General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World. Check out for more information about the Industrial Workers of the World, "One Big Union", a union for all workers.