Monday, February 28, 2011

Standing up for Workers Rights: The People Hold their House

More than 100,000 union members and their supporters rallied in Madison, Wis., on Saturday to tell Gov. Scott Walker to stop the attacks on public employees’ right to bargain for middle-class jobs. Tens of thousands more rallied in solidarity with Wisconsin workers in cities across the nation. On Sunday, when Gov. Walker ordered the Capitol building cleared, workers held their ground and maintained a presence throughout the night at what is now becoming known as The People’s Cathedral. 


Related Articles:

Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Sector Unions
Respondents said they opposed efforts to weaken collective bargaining rights and were against reducing state deficits via cutbacks for public workers.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's standing is eroding, opponents say, citing poll

Spreading Anti-Union Agenda (NYT)

More from Saturday’s Nationwide Rallies (AFL-CIO)

Worried by Wisconsin fight, labor rallies in NY (Buffalo)

Yes, America Still Needs Unions By Joe Conason (truthdig)


Join us Wednesday on March 2nd at 4:30 at City Hall in Rochester to stand in support of working people and our right to have a voice on the Job!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sign Our Petition: We Are Standing Up for Public Service!

The radical proposals by the governors in Wisconsin and Ohio would not just gut public services and jobs, they would take away the rights of workers to collectively bargain and the basic freedom to join a union — effectively eliminating public employee unions. (CLICK HERE)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rally - WE ARE ONE

The recent assault on all working people in Wisconsin is but the tip of the iceberg. If we allow people to lose the right to collectively bargain, we are saying it is okay for all people to lose this right. It is imperative that we stand together in solidarity to protect the middle class and stop our race to the bottom. Join us Wednesday on March 2nd at 4:30 at City Hall in Rochester to stand in support of working people and our right to have a voice on the job.

 Please link to the CSEA Local 828 facebook events page to confirm that you will be there. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don’t Let Quality Health Services at Monroe Community Hospital Fall Into the Wrong Hands

Health Care Workers and advocates for the elderly are continuing the struggle to keep top notch quality of care for the residents of Monroe County.

Activists brave the weather 2/19/11 to get the word 
out about saving important services at MCH.
Since 1826 Monroe Community Hospital has had a long history of providing high quality health care to the residents of the county. We know you’ll agree that there are many components to achieving and maintaining good health. We also know that you’ll agree that good nutrition and sanitary conditions have as much a significant impact on health as medical and motivational care when it comes to the men, women and children who are frail, sick, elderly or in need of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, if the county goes through with their plans to privatize some departments at Monroe Community Hospital to a profit driven company, he patients and residents may be put at risk.

As a member of the Monroe Community Hospital family, you need to know that county officials are trying to contract out the dietary and laundry services at MCH. To do so would be misguided, it would not save money and it would threaten the full, complete circle of health care at the facility. Along with doctors, nurses, counselors and support staff, the nutrition and cleanliness programs play very significant roles in recovery and maintenance of residents’ health and quality of life.

The public owned Monroe Community Hospital provides high quality care for all residents of Monroe County. Privatizing current services at Monroe Community Hospital is not a way to save. Instead, privatization would come with a cost. Privatization would threaten quality care and cheapen valuable and important services.


All Monroe County residents deserve complete and quality care. Don't let the circle of health care be broken. Call Monroe Community Hospital Executive Director Todd Spring today and tell him: "Keep MCH at the top of quality health services. Don’t outsource any hospital departments.”  

Mobilization at MCH
For more information on the county’s misguided plan to outsource MCH dietary and laundry, call 328-5250.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stand with the workers in Wisconsin in their struggle to be heard!!!!!!

CEOs and their corporations spent more than $1 billion nationally last fall to elect politicians who would work for them. Now those politicians are saying "thank you" by trying to enact an all-out assault on middle-class families. But this week, Wisconsin has shown us how powerful it is when working people fight back.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thought he could cut the pay and trample the rights of more than 150,000 state workers and not face any consequences. Well, he was wrong. Tuesday, 13,000 people went to the state capitol to protest Gov. Walker's plan, and to tell their state legislators to oppose it. Dozens spent the night in sleeping bags in the Capitol Rotunda and over 50,000 arrived to protest on Wednesday.

Stand with the workers in Wisconsin in their struggle to be heard over the CEOs.

Then, get ready to put up the same fight in your state, because Gov. Walker isn't the only one who owes payback to the CEOs who got him elected. Governors and state legislatures around the country are threatening to pass similar laws that would drive down wages, weaken workplace protections and cut services middle-class families depend on.

Wisconsin has shown us that when working people join together and fight back, we can make headlines and influence politicians-even without billions in corporate money. Stand with Wisconsin's workers.

In solidarity,

Working America, AFL-CIO
Tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers showed us this week how powerful our voices can be. Click here to say "I stand with Wisconsin's working people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Public employees under siege……

States Aim Ax at Health Cost of Retirement

Published: February 13, 2011

Governors and mayors facing large deficits have set their sights on a relatively new target — the soaring expense of health benefits for millions of retired state and local workers.

As they contend with growing budget deficits and higher pension costs, some mayors are complaining that their outlays for retiree health benefits are rising by 20 percent a year — a result of the wave of retirements of baby boomers and longer life expectancies on top of the double-digit rate of health care inflation. MORE



Public-Sector Squeeze: Nationwide effort to blame public employees for economic crisis (TruthOut)

By: Max Fraad-Wolff and Richard D. Wolff
A national campaign is now fully launched to make local, public-sector employees pick up a major share of the costs of the economic crisis. Years of rising spending and falling revenue have carved a path of destruction through federal, state and local budgets. Deficits and debts have mounted, eroding taxpayer support for government spending in general and for public employees particularly. In response to deep economic pains in middle-class communities, major efforts are under way, from California to Maine, to balance budgets through major cuts in services, wages, benefits and employment.

Read more at TruthOut.com >>


The Shameful Attack on Public Employees

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In 1968, 1,300 sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to support them. That was where he lost his life. Eventually Memphis heard the grievances of its sanitation workers. And in subsequent years millions of public employees across the nation have benefited from the job protections they’ve earned. (TO READ THE WHOLE OPINION ARTICLE - CLICK HERE)


Champions of the Middle Class

Can organized labor lead a movement to restore broad economic security? It's hard to imagine who else will.

Robert Kuttner (The American Prospect)

The labor movement has long been a potent force for promoting a broad economic middle. Though no longer centered in auto and steel factories, unions continue to offer lower-income Americans a path into the middle class--just ask a newly organized janitor, hotel worker, security guard, hospital paraprofessional, home-care worker, or warehouse, call-center, or food-service employee. In 2003, the Economic Policy Institute found that the wage premium for unionized jobs relative to comparable jobs is about 20 percent, and union workers are far more likely to have decent health and pension benefits as well as a voice at work. Unions are also the single most powerful lobby for good social legislation such as Social Security, Medicare, and college aid, helping anchor the middle class generally.  READ MORE (CLICK HERE)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Understanding the Dedicated Workforce

Standing Room Only

Even though the weather storm reports kept a majority of public away from attending the scheduled legislative meeting Tuesday night, numerous CSEA Unit  7400 member-activists were present in the chamber to again show the Legislators the resilience of the workforce.

(Print off a copy of the BLAST by Clicking Here)

Our issue remains that the County Administration will not take the responsibility to negotiate with the Team in a proper manner that would lead to an agreement that both parties could accept. There is a lack of understanding on their part that after two tentative agreements have failed to ratify, that the membership is not willing to accept any contract that will erode the basic benefit conditions of the previous contract which members fought so hard to achieve.

1/31/11 Mobilization Event
Until we can get some movement in negotiations from the Administration, all CSEA Unit 7400 members are urged to attend the monthly legislative meetings. When at the meeting, please take the time to introduce yourself to your legislator and explain to him or her why the services you perform are important to the community and why the lack of proper negotiations causes undue stressful working conditions. We also want members to sign up to address the legislature to speak about your personal experiences in which you have made the community better through your work.

Again, all County officials need to understand that the County workforce is not at all pleased with the way negotiations have been handled by the County. However, as professional employees, who are dedicated to the community we work for, we will do our part to give the community the best service possible and hope that the County Administration lives up to the commitments it has made to the people of this county.

Important dates to remember:

Thursday, February 17th, 5:30 - Unit 7400 Neg./Mobilization Taskforce Meeting, Rochester Satellite Office

Tuesday, March 8th, 5:45 - Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building

CSEA Unit 7400 Leadership thanks all members for their continued involvement and will continue to keep all members up to date on the contract situation.


Hard-working state employees don't deserve condemnation (CLICK HERE)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed state budget

"There is nothing fair nor shared in the proposed state budget.

Slashing aid to our communities, to our hospitals and nursing homes, to our schools and disproportionate cuts in state operations does not represent any new direction. It will mean fewer people on the job maintaining our roads, fewer people keeping our water clean, fewer people making our neighborhoods safer, fewer people providing care to our most vulnerable citizens, fewer people driving our children to school and helping New Yorkers lead healthier lives.

CSEA has repeatedly said that we are prepared to do our part and work with the administration for a better New York.

We are not willing to see the necessary services that CSEA members provide to people in every community in the state used as a bargaining chip to maintain tax breaks for millionaires."


Public Employees are NOT the problem! See why:

Public-Sector Squeeze

Tuesday 1, February 2011
by: Max Fraad-Wolff and Richard D. Wolff, t r u t h o u t
News Analysis

A national campaign is now fully launched to make local, public-sector employees pick up a major share of the costs of the economic crisis. Years of rising spending and falling revenue have carved a path of destruction through federal, state and local budgets. Deficits and debts have mounted, eroding taxpayer support for government spending in general and for public employees particularly. In response to deep economic pains in middle-class communities, major efforts are under way, from California to Maine, to balance budgets through major cuts in services, wages, benefits and employment.

Federal, state and local governments are staggering from reduced tax revenues because of unemployment, reduced production, lower investment and the housing collapse. Washington borrowed huge sums from foreign investors, domestic big business and the rich. These funds went to bail out select businesses and to help (partially and temporarily) broken state and local government budgets. Because Democrats and Republicans agreed last December to not increase income, estate and capital gains taxes, broken state and local budgets face declining federal support. This is driving governors, mayors and state legislatures to raise taxes and/or to slash payrolls and programs. Of course, some cutting and tax increases are required. The real social decisions involve what to cut, how much, for whom and whose taxes to increase.

The pressure is on to shift the heavy costs of economic crisis onto the middle- and low-income communities already stung by unemployment, foreclosures, reduced job benefits and rising job insecurity. The campaign to make the middle- and lower-income Americans pay now focuses on public employees - especially their numbers, incomes and benefits. Battles loom over which state and local job holders get fired, whose pensions/benefits will be reduced and which public services will stop being available.

Politicians will keep silent on the key alternative to deep cuts - precisely because it would otherwise be on most citizens' agendas. That alternative would be to raise the tax share paid by leading firms and the wealthiest 5-10 percent of citizens. In most cases, this means returning to the levels of taxation in the 1980s. Whatever may be needed in the way of reasonable rationalizations and savings in government budget outlays, we will not exit the continuing economic crisis by massive reductions in public service provision and employment. Those only further depress the economic conditions and well-being of middle- and lower-income communities. This would be a more and more cruel version of the track we have been on for decades. Sadly, this approach is neither new nor likely to work.

The facts don't support the attacks on public employees. Last year, total state and local employment declined by 407,000 jobs. Figure 1 shows what has happened to public employment in our states and localities over the last half-century.

Figure 1: State and Local Employment Bureau of Labor Statistics CES

Figure 1 shows that there are about 20 million state and local workers in America today: 14.3 million local and 5.2 million state employees. Until the last decade, the numbers of public employees grew steadily as did the US population. Unemployment levels in our communities would have been much higher had those workers not found public jobs. State and local government would have provided far fewer and/or poorer public services had state and local employment not grown. Of course, there are stories of waste and corruption. Nonetheless, we all need and benefit from many state and local services.

Figure 2 shows that, over the last decade, state and local employment did not grow very rapidly. As the US economy moved toward crisis, state and local governments did not notably expand their payrolls. Their economics did not spin out of control as did our financial industry and other parts of the private sector. Some states and localities even trimmed their tax rates. Assumptions were made about a lasting housing and equity market boom. These proved false. In many cases, the pain emerges slowly as properties are reappraised, sales tax revenues fail to rise amid record unemployment and huge numbers of citizens do without health care coverage.

Figure 2: BLS Data State and Local Government Employment 2000-2010 (Thousands)

Some now paint public employees as "fat cats." In 2009 (the latest available data), the average state employee earned $23.67 per hour or $49,240 per year.(1) The average local government employee earned $21.68 per hour or $45,090 per year.(2) These are averages. There are considerable differences among individual public employee earnings depending on her/his location, age and job type. There are huge ranges in pay by locality and union membership as well.
By comparison, the national average earning per hour for all employed Americans in December of 2009 was $22.38 or $44,760 for a 2,000 hour year. In other words, state and local government employees earned about the national average in 2009 and 2010. Figure 3 below lists the most common jobs and salaries for state and local employees according to the "BLS Career Guide to Industries," 2010-2011 Edition.(3) State and local government employees' earnings were close to the national averages in most occupations. Labeling all public employees "fat cats" is an attempt to make mostly middle-class earners and all social service consumers pay for what the economic crisis did to state and local budgets.

Figure 3: Most Common State and Local Government Occupations and Mean Hourly Compensation

Another part of the campaign against state and local workers is aimed at their unions. But here, too, the facts offer a more honest picture. State and local government employees are more unionized than private-sector workers. Approximately 12.3 percent (or 14.7 million people) of the total US labor force is represented by unions. That includes a 612,000 member decline in 2010. About 36 percent of public-sector workers were unionized in 2010 as compared to 6.9 percent of private-sector workers. Figure 4 shows that local public employees (teachers, police and fire personnel, and others closest to the communities they serve) were the most unionized. Figure 4 also shows that the majority of state and local public employees are not unionized, just like the vast majority of private-sector workers. Portraying public employees or their unions as the primary problem is not supported by the facts.

Figure 4. BLS Data Percent of Workers Unionized by Employer Type
Most importantly, state and local employees provide vital services to all. Our education, transport, protection, courts and civic participation rely on public-sector workers. Over 85 percent of Americans are educated in public institutions, from first grade through university. Our police, fire, courts, social workers and clerks keep all of us and our property secure. Our roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, trains, buses and security are public-sector work. Our diversity and our veterans are well represented among our public-sector workers. Cutting the public sector will worsen the economic crisis while deepening many social problems. No discussion about real and serious budget adjustments should proceed from ignorance about what public-sector workers do, who they are and what they are paid. No society moves wisely without acknowledging and factoring the real lives at stake and the real effects of budget decisions.


1. BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data.

2. BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data.

3. bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs042.htm.

4. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, State and Local Government Information (EEO-4), 2007, Employment Summary by Job Category and Government Type, Government Type: 1 - State.

5. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, State and Local Government Information (EEO-4), 2007, Employment Summary by Job Category and Government Type, Government Type: 3 - CITY.

6. BLS Employment Situation of Veterans.

Max Fraad Wolff teaches economics in the New School University Graduate Program in International Affairs. Richard D. Wolff is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and also a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He is the author of New Departures in Marxian Theory (Routledge, 2006) among many other publications. Check out Richard D. Wolff’s documentary film on the current economic crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, at www.capitalismhitsthefan.com. Visit Wolff's Web site at www.rdwolff.com and order a copy of his new book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do about It.

Negotiations Update/Mobilization General Membership meeting 1/31/11


CSEA Unit 7400 members gathered in mass Monday night to prepare for the days ahead. Mobilization efforts continue in Monroe County at a frantic pace.

All Unit Members are encouraged to come the Monroe County Legislature meeting tonight (2/1/11) to support your negotiation team. Please be there by 5:45pm. You only need to stay for the public comment period from 6:00pm - 7pm. (39 West Main Street Rochester)
CSEA Members discuss mobilization strategy 

And you can now follow Unit 7400 on Twitter:

NYS AFL-CIO Legislative Alert

The NYS Conference of Mayors, joined by individual local officials statewide have been incessantly calling for the rollback of various labor laws, such as prevailing rate, Wicks Law as well as Civil Service, pension and other important protections. Any elected official supporting such statements represents the worst hypocrisy. Hypocritical because these same elected officials have no problem accepting their own pension benefits while local governments hand out tax breaks to businesses “that never create jobs” and  because rather than own up to their decisions, they would rather blame our state elected officials.
The labor movement stands ready to work with the state legislature to get through the cuts and inevitable changes working through the budget shortfalls. We will not stand idly by while anyone attempts to tear down important, institutional labor protections.

Some wrongly say these proposals are about saving budget dollars, but the reality is that calls for eliminating these laws are an ideological anti-union stance and all union members should take note. We call on the Governor and state legislators to reject calls for repealing Triborough protection or freezing public employee wages as  smoke and mirror tactics designed to draw attention
away from the real problems  our communities face.  None of these elected officials complain about the handing out of sales tax and property tax exemptions, with no voter approval, by their very own local governments. None of these officials complain when promises of job creation fall flat.  No one complains about  taxpayer dollars for membership to organizations like NYCOM and their costs for lobbyists and consultants.  The use of taxpayer dollars for such purposes was specifically authorized  in statue by the State Legislature, and could possibly be better used to help alleviate local government fiscal problems.

Fact:   Prevailing rate and Wicks laws help the economy grow, by requiring developers and contractors to pay a decent wage so that local communities can prosper in well made safe structures.  Both laws also help  prevent fraud and corruption in the contracting process, by requiring stringent oversight and strict competitive bidding requirements with no shiftless cousins awarded construction contracts.
Fact:   Every contract and wage increase that public employees have fought for and earned was negotiated in good faith by these  very same mayors. Rather than attempt to work with their unions and live up to their collective bargaining agreements, they ask the state legislature and the Governor to do their dirty work.
Fact: Calls for a new pension tier will not save a dime
in the  long term and any changes in the retirement system will have no impact on our current budget problem.  As warned by this Federation last year, the Tier 5 issue was a misplaced priority of the previous administration that did nothing to save any significant funding in the short term and as such, here we are again, listening to the same false claims about the need for yet another pension tier.
Fact:  Calls for such changes are pure ideology and have nothing to do with our current fiscal problems.

Denis Hughes, President

Read more at the CSEA Voice Reporter (CLICK HERE)