Friday, June 17, 2011

Fight Back Against Attacks on Working People

From CSEA:

Middle-class, working Americans are under attack like never before. We're in the fight of our lives against the rich and powerful who want to take even more for themselves while leaving the rest of us to fight over the scraps. Some here in New York are using the budget problem as an opportunity to scapegoat public employees and blame us for a mess we did nothing to create. They are attacking our jobs, benefits and pensions and attempting to pit public and private sector workers against each other.

CSEA members need to know the facts and be able to fight back with the truth wherever misinformation is being spread.

Facts for you to use:

    • Despite claims that our pensions are overly generous, the average CSEA member's pension is $14,000 a year.
    • We believe all workers deserve a decent retirement and a decent pension is not an unrealistic benefit for all workers to expect, especially when big business is making record profits.
    • Public employees contribute 3 percent of salary to our pensions now.
    • Throughout the 1990s, the state and municipalities paid nothing into the retirement system as Wall Street booms. Minimum payments are now required due to system reform to ensure accountability.
    • New York's pension plan is currently the best-funded plan in the United States.
    • The NYS Comptroller's Office has taken important steps to make employer contributions to the plan more predictable and manageable.
    • No one should be scamming the pension system. The worst abusers are political hacks -- not rank-and-file workers.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Pension Talking Points

  • 401(k) Plans
    • Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, are fine as a supplement to pensions but relying solely on a 401(k) plan would put people's retirement security at the mercy of the stock market.
    • The stock market volatility of recent years has decimated many 401(k) accounts and would have wreaked havoc with our retirement security.
    • Studies have proven 401(k) plans cost twice as much to administer as defined benefit plans with account and transaction fees.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of 401(k) Talking Points

  • Layoffs
    • Layoffs don't work. They mean high taxes and less service.
    • Layoffs mean management has failed.
    • A layoff is bad economics. It takes a paycheck out of the market and forces increased costs and demand for social services.
    • Unemployment goes up, fewer taxes come in, people have less money to spend and the economy suffers.
    • Every time you talk about a layoff you're not just talking about a person's job, you're talking about a person's family; you're talking about a person's life.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Layoff Talking Points

  • Health Care Benefits
    • Most local government workers and all state employees in New York pay toward their health insurance and have deductibles and co-pays too.
    • Rising health care costs are a national problem that won't be solved by simply passing costs on to workers.
    • CSEA regularly works with employers to look for ways to lower health insurance costs. Our creative ideas to contain health insurance costs have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Health Care Benefits Talking Points

  • Triborough Amendment
    • Since public workers are prohibited from striking, Triborough levels the field in negotiations, preventing employers from unilaterally changing terms and conditions of employment if a contract has expired.
    • Triborough merely continues the terms of an expired contract while the parties negotiate a new one. It does not give workers raises.
    • Without Triborough employers could wait until a contract expires and then simply impose new terms.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Triborough Amendment Talking Points

  • We're Not to Blame!
    • While New York's financial problems are very real, the fact is public service workers did not create them.
    • We're not the enemy! Nurses, snowplow operators and school lunch ladies are not responsible for our state's fiscal circumstances.
    • Many public service workers do the jobs no one else wants to do, working in prisons or facilities for the mentally disabled or out in extreme weather.
    • Many public service workers are shift workers who go to work when most people are going to sleep and many cannot make plans for the weekends because their days off might be Tuesdays and Thursdays.
    • While working Americans continue to struggle, Wall Street is recording record profits. Profits of $27.6 billion made 2010 Wall Street's most profitable year ever with the exception of 2009, when it benefited from bailout money and low interest rates.
    • Public and private sector workers shouldn't be fighting each other. We should be fighting TOGETHER against our common enemy -- those who condone tax cuts for millionaires while sending the rest of us into a race for the bottom.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of We're Not To Blame! Talking Points

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