Tuesday’s vote results: 309 votes cast out of 409 eligible in Local 3486.
300 Votes “Yes”. 9 Votes “No”.
Overall the contract was ratified by 97% of all AFSCME members of Council 31.
The Executive Board and Bargaining Team thanks you for your support!
The contract will go to the County Board for their approval on July 29th. (They just passed the ‘penny’ increase for pensions & infrastructure improvements yesterday!)
Thanks, Scott Walker: the 7-day work week comes to Wisconsin
People in Wisconsin can now work 7 days a week — if they want to.
Before announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, Governor Scott Walker tended to some business at home in Wisconsin, signing the state’s budget into law on Sunday afternoon. And one provision will make it easier for factory and retail employees to work seven days straight.
Under the previous law, factory and retail employees were required to take a whole 24 hours off every seven days unless they got explicit permission from the state. Now, all employees have to do is specify in writing that they’re cool with working for a full week.
Republicans in the Badger state have been pushing for the new seven-day work week since 2014. State Senators Glenn Grothman and Mark Born, who proposed the seven-day work week legislation last year, told the Associated Press in 2014 that it was a win-win for workers and employers: workers could make an extra buck, and employers could increase production.
“It’s ridiculous when people want to work extra hours why Democrats would stand in the way of that,” Grothman told the Associated Press. “I don’t know why some people want some people to remain poor.”
Chris Reader, the director of Health and Human Resources Policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce — the state’s biggest lobby and one of the early supporters of the seven day work week — said that the regulation only makes it easier for workers to waive their day of rest.
“Workers will now be in complete control of whether or not to work extra hours to earn more pay for their families,” Reader told Mashable. Reader said that the key word in the legislation is that the employee has to voluntarily waive their day of rest.
“It would be one thing if the proposal actually deleted the day-off requirement and brought Wisconsin in line with most states and the federal government, which don’t have such a requirement,” Reader says. “The reform doesn’t do that – it very specifically and purposefully protects workers by keeping the day-off requirement, and keeping the waiver process as a voluntary process.”
But some opponents of the new law — which, unsurprisingly, include labor unions in the state like Wisconsin AFL-CIO — fear that the choice for workers won’t entirely be voluntary.
“In the legislative text as it now exists, there is no protection for ensuring that such a choice is truly voluntary,” Gordon Lafer, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute told Mashable. “There is nothing — particularly in non-union workplaces, which constitute the vast majority of employers covered by this law — that prevents an employer from declaring that volunteering to waive this right is a sign of being a committed employee, or that it helps the company run efficiently, and therefore that the best hourly shifts will go to those who volunteer.”
And for opponents, it’s clear that workers in the Badger state are already at a distinct disadvantage. Walker pushed through legislation that has gutted the power of labor unions in the state, and Wisconsin is an “employment at will” state — meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, so long as the reason isn’t illegal or discriminatory.
While Reader notes that employees can file a complaint with the state Department of Workforce Development if they feel they are being coerced, Lafer doesn’t think it’s so black and white.
“Basically, as long as management does not make a very explicit and clumsy threat,” Lafer says, “there is almost no end to personal and financial rewards that can be made conditional on waiving a right.”
Lafer also said that the regulation might not actually lead to more hours for workers. Instead, he said, employers could use the regulation to schedule “just-in-time” shifts (when employees have to make themselves available for shifts that they might not actually end up working depending on the demand as judged by their employer).
“It’s also possible that employers will use this law to create 7-day work schedules with the same number of hours as before — particularly in retail sectors where employers have long been interested in “just in time” scheduling or scheduling that puts more employees at work for shorter shifts to cover peak hours of customer demand,” Lafer says.
And then there’s the question of how the new law will affect the economy of the beer and bratwurst-loving state. Under Walker’s tenure, the state ranked 35th in job growth, and sports a $490 million structural budget deficit for 2015-2017, according to the Wisconsin Budget Project.
Reader says that the new law will have a positive impact, arguing that companies will be able to boost their production with more workers willing to work overtime.
But not so fast, says Lafer. “It’s unlikely that there are any economic benefits from this to the Wisconsin economy as a whole, and certainly not to workers as a whole.”
It remains to be seen just how the new law will impact Wisconsin workers and its economy. But one thing’s for sure: the country will be keeping a close eye on how Walker leads America’s dairyland.
Did you notice how this article didn’t mention that extra hours worked would be “Overtime”!! King Bruce is watching, and will probably be making this proposal here in Illinois, so everyone can work for $7.25 hourly and not get any benefits!
Rauner pension plan would end union negotiations, freeze pay
But labor unions and their supporters — including Democrats who run the Legislature — say it’s the latest attempt by the Republican to attach union-busting measures to broader policy changes.
The legislation would prohibit state employee unions from collective bargaining on issues such as wages, vacation and overtime, and would freeze salaries for five years beginning this month. It would then offer workers the option of getting raises, more vacation or more overtime — but only if they agree to switch to a less-generous pension plan.
Democratic leaders declared the plan all but dead last week, while labor unions called it “unconstitutional, unfair to workers and retirees, and a waste of taxpayer dollars and time.”
“Instead of continuing his one-man political campaign to stomp out the rights of average people, Gov. Rauner should be working with legislators of both parties to find real solutions and revenue for the critical programs Illinois families depend on,” said Illinois AFL-CIO spokesman Bill Looby.
Rauner, a businessman in his first elected office, insists there’s a lot for Democrats to like in the 485-page measure. Included are changes to Chicago pensions sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel — language Emanuel described as “a good thing.” The bill also would affect pensions of police, firefighters and teachers outside Chicago.
It comes as lawmakers are fighting over a state budget and months after the Illinois Supreme Court threw out a 2013 pension overhaul, saying it violated a clause of the state constitution that says benefits can’t be reduced.
Illinois’ pension debt is now more than $100 billion, while retirement systems in Chicago and statewide hold a small fraction of the money needed to pay out as promised. Here’s a closer look at Rauner’s plan:
The legislation would provide state employees with incentives to switch to the pension plan the Legislature adopted for workers hired in 2011 or later.
The so-called “Tier II” pension plan requires employees to work longer before they may retire. It also provides smaller cost-of-living increases in retirement than the plan most workers are on, which provides 3 percent increases each year, compounded annually.
Workers who switch to the less-generous pension plan may choose from three incentive packages. They offer various increases in salary, vacation or overtime earnings, plus a $2000 “transition bonus.”
Rauner says giving workers a choice in benefits is a nod to Senate President John Cullerton, who has long argued the approach is the only constitutional pension solution. But Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for the Chicago Democrat, called Rauner’s comments “lip service.” She said taking power away from unions and freezing salaries of working people isn’t what Cullerton had in mind.
Teachers across Illinois, state university employees, legislators and police and firefighters outside Chicago also would be given a choice in pension benefits.
They could choose to switch from the 3 percent cost-of-living increase, compounded annually, to an increase of either 3 percent or half the consumer price index — whichever is lower — that’s not compounded. The other option is to base pension benefits off of salary earned to this point, and not on any future salary increases.
Rauner’s plan would give Chicago and other local governments until 2055 — rather than 2040 — to get their police and fire pension systems to 90 percent funding, thereby reducing the annual payment. It also states that revenue from a future Chicago casino, which the Legislature would still need to approve, would go to the police and fire pensions.
The governor also is proposing the state pick up the employer costs for Chicago Public Schools’ teacher pensions. Currently those costs are covered by Chicago taxpayers, even though the state makes the payments for other Illinois school districts.
New police officers and firefighters would be put into a so-called “Tier 3″ plan, which would be a hybrid of a pension plan and a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.
Rauner wants to give local governments the ability to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy — an idea he’s pitched as a possible solution to Chicago Public Schools’ financial mess.
Emanuel has said it’s “the wrong thing to do.” Madigan also indicated he opposes the idea.
Any contract could be vacated if the County, State or City just didn’t want to live up to their agreements and just say “We can’t afford it” and declare bankruptcy to get out from under their debt!
(This article is from the Associated Press)
Late tonight, a tentative agreement was reached with the County that will run through November 30, 2017.
Details on this agreement will be made available at contract ratification meetings, which will be held at all major worksites on Tuesday, July 14th. Only registered full dues members can vote for ratification. Times to be posted.
The contract does include retro pay and pay raises throughout its term, as previously agreed upon by other unions.
All full dues members will be allowed to vote on work time. Those having to travel will be allotted time also to vote at the closest major work site.
See you on Tuesday!
We have received information from our HR Department concerning who should provide what information to the department.
If you are already a member of a weapons unit in APD, you will be required to provide a copy of your FOID card and blue card to management.
If you are a regular probation officer, who has an FOID card and a conceal carry permit, you do not have to provide this information to the department. It’s optional on your part to provide this information.
Now if anyone is planning to transfer to a weapons unit in the future, having a copy of a current FOID card on file may streamline the transfer process.
As with any information that you must report to management, it’s optional unless it’s marked “mandatory”.
We don’t get it anymore. We know your frustrated. How the hell do you think we feel? We ask you to participate in job actions that will benefit you, and 50 people show up. We ask you to make a phone call, from home, your cell or your desk that will benefit you in the end, and we get flak. So now we’re asking, “What the Hell do YOU Want?!?!”
Most of you received an email or a fax asking you to call your legislators in Springfield to save your own pension. We don’t have numbers on how many of you already did this, but if past practice holds true, most of you haven’t called yet. Pensions aren’t part of the ongoing contract bargaining sessions, so if you don’t care if your pension gets screwed over with more contributions and less benefits you have no one to blame but yourself.
There is grumbling from the floor that we don’t have a contract yet. We’re not thrilled about that either. The county has dragged this on way too long because they don’t have the money to pay out past retro monies for the years of 2013 and 2104. We’ve already told you what the Teamsters, SEIU and now FOP have willingly agreed to, but since there has been discussion about it, we’ll go over it again.
According to agreements with all the a fore mentioned, here is what they got:
Wages: 1% June 1, 2013. 1% June 1, 2014. 2% June 1, 2015. 2% December 1, 2105. 2.25% December 1, 2016. 2% November 30, 2016. That totals 10.75 over the life of the contract.
Health Care changes are as follows: Classic Blue HMO is eliminated. HMO out-of-pocket maximum is $1,600/$3,200. HMO Accident/Illness co-pay is $15. HMO Urgent Care co-pay is $15. HMO Specialist co-pay is $20. HMO ER co-pay is $75.
PPO Deductible is $350/$700. PPO out-of-pocket maximum is $1,600/$3,200. PPO Accident/Illness co-pay is 90% after $25 co-pay. PPO Specialist is 90% after $25 co-pay, PPO ER co-pay $75. Prescription (HMO & PPO) $10/$25/$40. Generic Step Therapy will be implemented. Mandatory Maintenance Choice will be implemented. Healthcare contributions will increase by 1% of salary (.5% increase on 12/1/15 & .5% on 12/1/16.)
Because healthcare has already been finalized with others, we may not be able to change any of the agreed amounts. With wages, we are trying to get better than the 10.75 back loaded amounts. As for where we stand right now with the county, 10.75 isn’t on the table for us. While the percentages look good, remember that costs for services have gone up which takes away from the total amount received. And if Madame Prez gets her way with pensions, we’ll be paying more into that without extra money in our pockets.
As for arbitration, the Sheriff’s Local has had a hearing with the labor board and is awaiting a decision by late July. We are not in arbitration. We are still bargaining.
Now that you know everything about what’s been agreed to by others and the pending restructuring of your pension by the folks in Springfield, we ask again, “What the hell do YOU want, and what are YOU going to do about it?” The Executive Board can’t do it all, and are tired of trying. If you don’t care enough to take in interest in your future, the HELL with you too!
From the Chicago Sun-Times….
Mike Madigan schedules vote on right-to-work, urges Rauner to give details
For months, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has toured the state trying to sell his “Turnaround Agenda,” largely centered on a push for right-to-work zones in Illinois.
Now Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is essentially telling Rauner to put up or shut up on the anti-union plan.
Madigan, D-Chicago, announced Thursday that he scheduled a vote for May 14 on whether Illinois should adopt right-to-work laws and invited the Republican governor to provide specific language for his legislation.
It was the second shot across the bow from Madigan this week, targeted at neutralizing issues Rauner has pushed lawmakers to approve as part of budget negotiations.
One Republican accused Madigan of trying to cause “chaos” by singling out the issue.
In a statement released on Thursday, Madigan’s office said it urged the governor to “file formal legislative language for his measure,” then needled Rauner for beginning to talk about right-to-work “100 days ago” but offering up no specifics to lawmakers.
As part of his tour, Rauner has urged local municipalities to adopt right-to-work laws for their own communities, which take aim at the power of unions. In those zones, workers can opt against joining unions or paying union dues as a condition of employment.
During his $60 million election for governor, Rauner repeatedly decried Illinois unions as corrupt and castigated lawmakers as contributing to the state’s economic “death spiral.” Rauner urged for local adoption of right to work in the face of the improbability of it passing statewide.
Putting the explosive issue to a vote creates a dicey political choice for Republican lawmakers who want to support their governor — particularly those who have union-heavy constituencies.
“With 24 scheduled days left in the Legislature’s spring session, Madigan encouraged the governor to introduce legislative language for the plan he has campaigned for at stops across the state,” the statement from the speaker’s office stated.
“The governor’s proposal will have a significant impact on middle-class families across Illinois,” Madigan said in a statement. “By putting the governor’s proposal to a vote, legislators will have the opportunity to ensure the voices of the middle-class families in their districts are heard.”
Rauner’s office characterized Madigan’s move as walking away from closed-door negotiations that members of the administration have engaged in with lawmakers in various working groups.
“The administration continues to negotiate in good faith over the governor’s turnaround agenda and will remain at the table as long as it takes,” a governor’s office spokesman said in a statement. “If House Democrats want to walk away from the negotiating table and vote on a proposal before there is bipartisan agreement that the material is ready to be introduced in committee, then they should start with a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on legislators.”
Madigan used a similar tactic by calling Rauner’s proposed $2 billion in human services budget cuts for a vote this week. With House Republicans saying they were caught off guard, they voted “present” and Democrats voted “no.” The ultimate tally for Rauner’s budget cut proposal: zero “yes” votes.
State Rep. Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, said Madigan’s move would only disrupt any chance of bipartisan progress on the budget. Sullivan said Republicans haven’t drawn up specific legislation because Democrats would only turn around and kill it.
“Gov. Rauner is trying to negotiate things in totality,” Sullivan said. “Speaker Madigan doesn’t want any part of it, so he’s trying to bring out the heater points. Cause chaos.”
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said Democrats would continue to attend working group sessions. But with the end of the session looming, Madigan believed it was appropriate to address Rauner’s premier issue.
“The governor has spoken about this topic for as long as he’s been in the seat,” Brown said. “They believe that these things have to be accomplished right now. There’s only one way to gauge if this is possible or not. A meeting, a PowerPoint, those things don’t accomplish anything under state law.”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said he would urge his members to keep hammering away at a budget compromise.
“I currently have many working groups that are negotiating a number of agenda items for the governor and [right to work] happens to be one of them,” Durkin said. “I believe that the groups should continue on with the work and hopefully reach some kind of consensus on this issue and a number of the other issues that are being discussed by these working groups. Again, this session is about bipartisan cooperation, working together — active participation by Democrats and Republicans.”
Still, state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, welcomed a vote on the issue, saying that given all the rhetoric about right to work, it might be good to put the issue behind lawmakers and focus on the budget.
Finally! Madigan has had enough of the minimum wage jobs with no benefits package the King Bruce is pushing down our throats!
From the Chicago Tribune….
Illinois Supreme Court rules landmark pension law unconstitutional
The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt, sending lawmakers and the new governor back to the negotiating table to try to solve the pressing financial issue.
The ruling also reverberated at City Hall, imperiling a similar law Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through to shore up two of the four city worker retirement funds and making it more difficult for him to find fixes for police, fire and teacher pension funds that are short billions of dollars.
At issue was a December 2013 state law signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increases for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension be
Employee unions sued, arguing that the state constitution holds that pension benefits amount to a contractual agreement and once they’re bestowed, they cannot be “diminished or impaired.” A circuit court judge in Springfield agreed with that assessment in November. State government appealed that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that economic necessity forced curbing retirement benefits.
On Friday the justices rejected that argument, saying the law clearly violated what’s known as the pension protection clause in the 1970 Illinois Constitution.
“Our economy is and has always been subject to fluctuations, sometimes very extreme fluctuations,” Republican Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote on behalf of all seven justices. “The law was clear that the promised benefits would therefore have to be paid and that the responsibility for providing the state’s share of the necessary funding fell squarely on the legislature’s shoulders.
“It is our obligation, however, just as it is theirs, to ensure that the law is followed. That is true at all times. It is especially important in times of crisis when, as this case demonstrates, even clear principles and long-standing precedent are threatened. Crisis is not an excuse to abandon the rule of law. It is a summons to defend it,” he wrote.
The ruling means Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly will have to come up with a new solution after justices appeared to offer little in the way of wiggle room beyond paying what’s owed, which likely would require a tax increase. Coming up with a way to bridge a budget gap of more than $6 billion already was going to be difficult with little more than three weeks before a scheduled May 31 adjournment, and now the pension mess has been added to the mix.
Rauner, who argued during last year’s campaign that the law was unconstitutional and didn’t go far enough to reduce the pension debt, said the court ruling only reinforces his approach of getting voters to approve a constitutional amendment that “would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms.”
The governor has proposed allowing veteran state workers to keep the current benefits they’ve earned through a certain date, then move them into a lower-paying benefit plan created for newer state workers. To try to make that approach pass legal muster, he wants lawmakers to put on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to clarify that future retirement benefits could be changed.
In its ruling, the court restated that state worker retirement benefits that are promised on the first day of work cannot be later reduced during their term of employment, only increased. But it is unclear whether a change in the constitution could be applied to existing state workers. Even if reluctant lawmakers were to put a measure on the ballot and voters approved it, such a change would spur years of litigation that could involve both state and federal courts.
A coalition of unions that represent government workers and retirees applauded the ruling as protecting “the hard-earned life savings of teachers, police, firefighters, nurses, caregivers and other public service workers and retirees.”
“Public service workers are helpers and problem solvers by trade. With the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling, we urge lawmakers to join us in developing a fair and constitutional solution to pension funding, and we remain ready to work with anyone of good faith to do so,” Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said in a statement.
Democratic Senate President John Cullerton issued a statement noting concerns he raised at the time the bill was passed.
“Today, the Illinois Supreme Court declared that regardless of political considerations or fiscal circumstances, state leaders cannot renege on pension obligations,” the statement read. “This ruling is a victory for retirees, public employees and everyone who respects the plain language of our constitution.”
The court decision affects not only state government but also taxpayers in Chicago and municipalities throughout Illinois struggling to cope with growing pension debts that are straining government budgets.
At City Hall, the ruling stands to loom large in lawsuits that unions and retirees filed against Emanuel’s changes to pension systems for city workers and laborers. Like the state law, the city measure reduced annual cost-of-living increases. The ruling also could hurt Emanuel’s leverage as he negotiates a pension fix for the retirement systems covering Chicago police and firefighters.
At the state level, for decades governors and lawmakers failed to put enough money into the pension systems covering most state workers and university employees, as well as suburban and downstate teachers. In playing catch-up, spending on pensions now amounts to almost a quarter of every tax dollar that goes into the state’s general bank account.
The justices went so far as to fault lawmakers for failing to keep in place a 2011 temporary income tax hike that boosted the personal tax rate to 5 percent. At the start of the year, the tax increase automatically phased down to 3.75 percent for individuals, costing the state $4 billion in annual revenue. Much of the tax increase was used to make the state’s share of pension payments during those four years.
“The General Assembly could also have sought additional tax revenue. While it did pass a temporary income tax increase, it allowed the increased rate to lapse to a lower rate even as pension funding was being debated and litigated,” Karmeier wrote.
Now Rauner and lawmakers must figure out a pension solution.
“Our path forward from here is now much more difficult, and every direction will be more painful than the balance we struck (in the pension law that was thrown out),” Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat who helped negotiate the pension law, said in a statement Friday.
This should quiet things down on the county level too!
After another bargaining session with the county, we are sad to announce that we still don’t have a contract.
With the Teamsters and SEIU having reached agreements with the county on new contracts, the county is expecting us to roll over and accept the obvious. We are not going to just roll over and take what they’ve offered.
Our negotiations have brokered the current agreements with the two previously named unions, and we use that term loosly, as we brought down the county’s health care plans from 18% to their current levels.
We are very upset that once again as we got close to an agreement, the county turned to someone else for less money and getting they’re way on health care. We meet again on April 23rd, and have no idea on what the county is going to do except steer us in the direction of their completed deals.
We are trying to salvage our negotiations, and get you the most in wages and a fair health care package. Getting less money and more in deductibles isn’t our idea of a good deal, no matter what the others think!
To all who attended the Town Hall meeting on March 19th, you know where we want to be at. You know it’s going to take effort from everybody-not just the bargaining team to get the contract we deserve! Stay tuned for further updates.
It is with sympathy that we acknoledge the passing of our sister, Eva Rezmer.
Eva passed away on March 24, 2015 after a three year battle with cancer. Eva joined the Adult Probation Dept. in 2001.
Services have been held. Please keep the Rezmer family in your thoughs and prayers.