(From WILL Radio…)
Capitol Lights Going Up This Morning; Unions Say It’s A Gesture Of Goodwill, Not A Political Nab
A 50-year holiday tradition will light up the Illinois statehouse after all, even if a Grinch-like budget gridlock carries on through the rest of the year. Crews will hang strings of Christmas lights over the dome this morning.
Not having a state budget has led to a lot of consequences. One of the more visible ones: Secretary of State Jesse White announced last week the capitol would have to go dark for the holidays. White says the office can’t afford it.
A council of the local carpenters’, laborers’ and operating engineers’ unions have come to the rescue. They’ve paid the $7,300 power bill. They’re fronting the bill.
“My entire life – I’m 45 years old – those lights have been lit up. It’s a 50-year tradition,” said Brad Schaive business manager with for the Laborers Local 477.
The gesture has been characterized as an attempt by the unions to goad Governor Bruce Rauner, who has been pushing for union-weakening measures. His insistence that they pass, coupled with Democrats’ insistence that they don’t, is largely responsible for the gridlock.
Schaive says the offer was never intended as a jab at the governor.
“Man, no, actually no, to tell you the truth Bruce Rauner didn’t even come into this conversation when we talked about it,” he said. “It’s the holidays, it’s Christmas, it’s an overwhelming feeling of goodwill within the community. And I think we could use a lot of that. As a matter of fact we could use more of it.”
When will King Bruce realize that it’s better to work WITH UNIONS then against US??? Thank you Carpenters & Operating Engineers!
online, through the Employee Self-Service Portal.
the County employees to view their personnel and payroll information from home
or office, and from any computer with an internet connection and internet
earnings and deductions. Additionally, bi-weekly paystubs from September 1,
2014, to present are accessible for view/reprint. This is where you will obtain
your paystubs after the cutover to paperless
number and emergency contact(s)
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medical elections and benefit enrollment change forms
personal and float times – This function is currently not available to employees
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Come celebrate the Holidays with your Union Sisters and Brothers! As we party under Chicago’s Sky Line
on the amazing North River Front at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza,
350 W. Mart Center Drive, Chicago. (312) 836-5000. (Across the street from the Merchandise Mart)
Sorry for the lapse between postings. We’ve had a computer issue that has now been resolved, so let’s update what’s been going on:
1. AFSCME members ratified the new contract by 97% overall on July 14th, 2015. Our Local ratified 300-9.
The County Board passed our contract on September 7th at their regularly scheduled meeting. This included language, medical benefits and wages, including retro pay for 2013 & 2014.
There has been questioning on when we will actually see the money on our paychecks. The County has 60 days after passage of contracts to implement changes. Once papperwork is submitted and approved, monies will be paid out. Our guess is after December 1, 2015 when the 2016 fiscal year begins. On December 1, 2015, the County will owe us 6.5% increase according to our new contract.
2. Elections for Executive Board positions for Local 3486 were held on September 21st, 2015. There being no challenges at the nomination meeting, the following members have been elected:
President – Jim Dunaway
Executive Vice-President – Ken Miller
1st Vice-President – Angela Falls
Treasure – Jim Farrelly
Secretary: Charlotte Hunt
At Large Board Members:
Mary Pat O’Brien
1 Year: Michal Bramley
2 Years: Kevin McIntyre
3 Years: Carol Moss
Installation of Board Memebers will be on Wednesday, December 2nd at the next scheduled board meeting.
3. AFSCME International has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. The following message is from President Saunders.
The stakes for working families in 2016 could not be higher. That’s why we spent the last six months engaged in the most member-focused, in-depth and transparent endorsement process AFSCME has ever undertaken.
We gathered feedback on presidential candidates and their vision for America from members throughout the country through polling, surveys and town hall meetings with the candidates seeking our endorsement. We also engaged AFSCME activists directly in the decision making process at national meetings in San Diego, Albuquerque, Washington, DC, St. Louis and Indianapolis.
Throughout this process, what we heard is that AFSCME members want a candidate who is committed to raising incomes for hardworking people who are still struggling to make ends meet, and making it easier instead of harder for working people to join together in strong unions and stand together for wages and benefits that can sustain our families.
AFSCME members want the candidate who will tackle the issues that affect our quality of life, like paid family and sick leave, student loan debt and retirement security.
What we also heard was AFSCME members want the candidate who will be the most effective champion for working families, and who will be able to deliver a victory in this critically important election.
What we heard most, is that AFSCME members believe that candidate is Hillary Clinton.
Following the guidance of member feedback, including polling data that demonstrates support among nearly two-thirds of AFSCME members, our International Executive Board voted overwhelmingly today to endorse Hillary Clinton.
A victory for America’s working families is now up to us.
We know that the same CEOs and corporations who manipulate the rules in their favor will pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this election, and the only answer to the power of their money is the power of organizing.
AFSCME members care deeply about our communities, we know the power of organizing and we can elect a champion for our families if we vote, and work to turn out our friends, families, co-workers and communities to cast a ballot and volunteer during the next year.
Get involved at WeVoteWeWin.org/volunteer/
4. King Bruce continues to hold the State budget hostage because legislatures won’t give in and let him destroy union rights; to bargain for fair wages and benefits. Send your legislature a note thanking them for keeping Union Rights in Illinois!
5. Madame Prez has put together her 2016 budget, and is meeting resistance over increased amusement taxes, and has now given up. She has put the “Stroger Penny Tax” back into play for 2016, with those revenues targeted for Cook County Pensions. She still has her eyes set on making changes to our pension system, and we will continue to fight back to make sure she doesn’t get her way. Continue to watch for updates.
6. Labor Management meetings have resumed, but with little to show for them. Can’t explain why they continue to work against us instead of with us?
On Wednesday, September 2nd, The Illinois House is scheduled to convene and take up Senate Bill 1229, which if passed by the House will override the King’s veto of that bill which calls for mandatory arbitration should contract talks break down with State Employees.
King Bruce is trying to keep a campaign promise, to drive State workers off their jobs, so he can fire them just like Regan did to the air traffic controllers in 1981. We have videos showing this tactic on this site of him making this promise at campaign stops.
Call your House Representative, especially Democratic Representatives, and tell them to VOTE YES ON SB1229!
Call (888) 912-5959 and you will be connected directly to your representative!
If you enjoy having the right to bargain for fair wages and affordable health care benefits, instead of being told what you’re going to be paid and how much you’ll pay, CALL (888) 912-5959 NOW! Otherwise, this benefit can be taken away should the assault by King Bruce prevail on our and all unions in Illinois!
Did you get a chance to watch or listen to the County Board Committee Meetings or the Board meeting today? Are you sick yet? Keep reading.
The County Board, after getting beaten up from every which way on the .5% tax increase, mandatory minimum wages, paid sick time and all other vices from the restaurant association, small business owners, restaurant workers and anyone else who wanted to vent an opinion on financial matters in Cook County, finally got around to the last scheduled board meeting before their month long recess. On their agenda today, our contract ratification.
Sometime around 2:45pm, the county got around to their labor agreements. Our contract along with six others was before them for their blessing, and monies owed since 2012 would finally be forthcoming. But not so fast…
The County Board “passed” on voting on ours and others contracts, and instead sent them back to the Labor Committee for review. No, we’re not kidding you. The board wants to know what fiscal 2017 is going to look like for a budget hit. Once again, we’re not kidding you.
These are the financial numbers that the county forced fed us to accept! And NOW they don’t know HOW MUCH this is going to cost them?!?!?!? Really? BS.
The next County Board meeting is scheduled for September 9th. There is no guarantee that ours and the other contracts will be brought up for ratification by the board at the next meeting unless they do some number crunching while on their vacation. Should the board ratify our contract in September, raises may be available by December and retros sometime in early 2016? Only a guess currently.
Feeling sick now? We are.
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)