tagged w/ Union
“We’re asking the department to come up with a game plan – a sound, public policy planned approach to lower the number of people returning to prison and lower the prison population and crime rate.”
Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), February 7, 2011.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) has become a political money force of tremendous proportions. CCPOA’s political clout has trapped California in a self-perpetuating cycle where locking up more people with longer sentences has become the only solution to crime. For decades, the 30,000-member union has worked tirelessly to see more prisons built, while sabotaging prisoner rehabilitation, education, and treatment programs. According to a PPIC poll, prisons garner less than 15 percent (support for higher taxes) across all parties, regions, and demographic groups in California. However, the state prison budget continues to grow. This relentless draining of General Fund resources away from social services and schools will not stop as long as policymakers continue to cave in to the prison guard lobby.
4 Things Every Californian Should Know About the CCPOA:
1. Fighting to build more cells, walls and towers. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the CCPOA, California has built 43 penal institutions since 1984, making it a global leader in prison construction. Comparatively, between 1852 and 1964, only 12 prisons were built in California. Over the course of the last 20 years the Department of Corrections has become the largest General Fund state agency, reflecting a budget growth of almost $7 billion between 1998 and 2009. 
2. The 3 Strikes Law has crippled our state. In 1994, the CCPOA sponsored Proposition 184, the Three Strikes law, which was only the beginning of their membership growth bonanza. The majority of the 4,000-plus people imprisoned under Three Strikes committed a minor, non-violent third strike. According to the California State Auditor, these non-violent third strikers will cost the state at least $4.8 billion over the next 25 years – almost $200 million per year.
3. Incarceration for profit: politicians kneel to the California Prison Lobby. In the aftermath of the Three Strikes Law, legislators and political office hopefuls alike began taking a highly popular tough-on-crime approach, especially during election season. The CCPOA, its subsidized crime victims groups, lobbyists and its members have contributed nearly $38 million to the California legislative and election process in the last decade, resulting in a prison system that costs the state more than public education does.
4. The CCPOA has opposed nearly every “treatment in lieu of incarceration” program proposed. No one has more to lose from lower recidivism rates and higher rehabilitation turnaround than the CCPOA. The Prison Guards have spent millions to defeat treatment-over-incarceration proposals like Proposition 36, 66 and 5, which have been proven to save taxpayers money while decreasing recidivism rates. The numbers never lie; out of the nearly $11 billion Corrections budget, 70% of it goes to pay salaries, overtime and benefits to the union and staff. Just 5% of the budget goes to education and vocational programs.[7 Many prison guards can make as much as $180,000 each year after overtime, while the average California teacher makes just $67,000 a year.
http://caprogressivemessage.com/2011/03/04/the-california-prison-guards-union-still-profiting-from-incarceration-mania/“We’re asking the department to come up with a game plan – a sound,... more
SEIU Steals money from handicapped recieving medicaid.
The fate of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, an entity ostensibly tasked with keeping a list of the state’s private home health providers, may have seemed sealed in May when state lawmakers axed its funding from the 2012 budget. Yet even without state funding, this unusual government entity continues to exist past its Sept. 30 expiration date — and collect dues for a government-sector union.
“The union dues are still being withheld and are being sent to the MQC3,” according to Angela Minicuci, public information officer for the Michigan Department of Community Health, in an email sent to the Mackinac Center. “The MQC3 still exists and they are working to get funding for the home help registry.”
Minicuci did not elaborate on how a defunded agency continues to operate.
“For the state to operate a dubiously formed government entity that has been defunded by the Legislature seems unprecedented,” said Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “But such shenanigans aren’t entirely surprising given the origination of this agency and the machinations to preserve it for the sake of skimming ‘union dues’ from independent contractors.”
Wright was referring to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Mackinac Center that point to behind-the-scenes legislative efforts to keep the council operating by other means. Among the documents, emails indicate that Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Twp., was particularly focused on maintaining MQCCC.
The MQCCC was created in 2005 through an interlocal agreement between the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Tri-County Aging Consortium. The council kept a registry of home care providers, but its main function was to be the so-called government “employer” for some 45,000 private home care aides. Through this arrangement, these independent contractors were compelled to become dues-paying members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. The union has had a collective bargaining agreement with the MQCCC since 2006, collecting $6 million in annual dues from Medicaid subsidies paid to the home care providers. The council effectively runs the program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union.
The Mackinac Center recently learned from the council’s executive director that even though the MQCCC would no longer be funded this year and would soon close its doors, MQCCC officials believed the collective bargaining agreement would remain “in force between us and the union.” A copy of the agreement shows a Nov. 15, 2012, expiration date.
That prompted a Mackinac Center inquiry into what was happening behind the scenes that would keep a defunded government entity operating.
Among documents obtained from the Michigan Department of Community Health were more than three dozen emails from between April 5 and Sept. 13 discussing ways to keep the agency afloat. The biggest champion of creative financing for the council appeared to be Sen. Kahn. According to the documents attained by the Mackinac Center, Sen. Kahn began by proposing an above-the-board supplemental appropriation for the MQCCC. When this was rejected by the House, he suggested hiding the funding by avoiding an explicit designation identifying what it was for or putting the amount into another budget entirely. When those attempts failed, Sen. Kahn proposed taking five cents per hour from each health care provider to allow the continued existence of the faux employer, which would allow the union to keep collecting millions of dollars in annual dues.
The first indication of Sen. Kahn’s efforts came in a May 19 email from MDCH Deputy Director Nick Lyon to Nancy Vreibel, a staff member in Sen. Kahn’s office, discussing budget cuts to MDCH. Lyon wrote: “I also couldn’t work money back in for MQCCC; (Kahn) had asked about that.”
In July, an email from MDCH Director Olga Dazzo to several members of her staff and members of the Snyder administration revealed that Sen. Kahn and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, hoped to re-establish a cash flow to the MQCCC.
“Senators Richardville and Kahn believe there is merit in funding MQC3,” Dazzo wrote. “Senator Kahn was hoping to restore these dollars in the budget but apparently did not have support from the House or Senate MDCH budget chairs.”
In the same email, Dazzo asked some pointed questions about the SEIU (Note: parenthetical statements appear in the original.):
1.“Does the lack of funding mean the state is no longer supposed to collect union dues for SEIU? (MQC3 basically runs the program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union).
2.“Do we want the SEIU to continue operating through their own funding or some alternative source of dollars?
3.“Is there a long-term strategy with respect to this issue and is it comparable to the daycare unionization issue in DHS? (which was ended).”
Dazzo also noted that legislation aimed at ending agreements like the one that roped home-based day care providers into a union might affect the MQC3: “There is legislation moving through the process (HB 4003 from Representative Opsommer) that, if passed, may negatively impact the ability to have a program such as this.”
In July, an unidentified party apparently raised the question of having the union fund the MQCCC. In response, Lyon correctly replied in an email, “It would be a conflict of interest to have the union pay.”
More at link and below.
http://current.com/community/93537599_seiu-siphons-dues-from-mich-medicaid-payments.htm#93537672The fate of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, an entity ostensibly tasked... more
If you're a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to help support your mentally-disabled adult children, you qualify as a state employee for the purposes of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They can now claim and receive a portion of your Medicaid in the form of union dues.
Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. The state government provides the family with insurance through Medicaid, but also treats them as caregivers. For the SEIU, this makes them public employees and thus members of the union, which receives $30 out of the family's monthly Medicaid subsidy. The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) deducts union dues on behalf of SEIU.
Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo explained the process in to her members of her staff. "MQC3 basically runs the program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union," she wrote in an email obtained by the Mackinac Center. Initiated in 2006 under then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., the plan reportedly provides the SEIU with $6 million annually in union dues deducted from those Medicaid subsidies.
“We're not even home health care workers. We're just parents taking care of our kids,” Robert Haynes, a retired Detroit police officer, told the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “Our daughter is 34 and our son is 30. They have cerebral palsy. They are basically like 6-month-olds in adult bodies. They need to be fed and they wear diapers. We could sure use that $30 a month that's being sent to the union.”
According to the Mackinac Center, the theoretical public employer for whom the Haynes' work is the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3), an entity within the DCH that continues to operate, even though the state legislature has defunded it. Even the MQC3 calls the families hiring in-home health care providers "employers of providers," but these health care providers are also treated as employers of MQC3 when it comes time each month to take dues out of their Medicaid payment and send it to the SEIU.
Mr. and Mrs. Haynes, of course, are both the parents (the employer) and the health care providers for their children, but they still lose money to the SEIU every month, despite having no interest in joining the union. They have been arbitrarily classified as state employees so that the union can take money from them.
Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., already ended a similar scheme to provide unions with new "public employees" in the area of child care. His predecessor, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., had classified in-home daycare providers as public employees -- a designation that forced them to pay union dues but conferred no other benefits upon them. Snyder's director of the Department of Human Services ended that program. "[We] will stop all funding and, because these providers are not state employees, will also cease collecting union dues,” DHS director Maura Corrigan said at the time.
Michigan's state House has already passed a bill to prevent this sort of rent-seeking by public-sector unions, but it has stalled in the state Senate.If you're a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to... more
Occupy St. Louis tweeted this afternoon that they have received an email from Gary Bess, Parks and Recreation Director of the City of St. Louis, saying:
"I would like to give you notice that effective 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, November 11, 2011 or any time thereafter, the City of St. Louis will begin strict enforcement of all ordinances and regulations pertaining to the use of Kiener Plaza. If you have any questions, please contact me..."
Call their Parks Dept at (314) 289-5300 and Mayor Slay at (314) 622-3201. Show some solidarity for your brothers and sisters.Occupy St. Louis tweeted this afternoon that they have received an email from Gary... more
Corporations carry out some of the most horrific human rights abuses of modern times, but it is increasingly difficult to hold them to account. Economic globalization and the rise of transnational corporate power have created a favorable climate for corporate human rights abusers, which are governed principally by the codes of supply and demand and show genuine loyalty only to their stockholders. http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/recent-news/43017-some-of-the-qmost-wantedq-corporate-human-rights-violatorsCorporations carry out some of the most horrific human rights abuses of modern times,... more
A retired Chicago labor leader secured a $158,000 public pension — roughly five times greater than what a typical retired public-service worker in the Windy City receives — after being rehired for just one day of active duty on the city payroll, local news reports said.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Dennis Gannon stands to collect approximately $5 million in city pension funds during his lifetime. He now draws the pension while working for a hedge fund, the Tribune reported.
The Republican leader of the state House, Tom Cross, said he will introduce a bill to repeal the 1991 law that allows the windfall. Senate President Dennis Cullerton, a Democrat, agreed the law seems flawed.
Gannon, former president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, was able to take a long leave from a city job to work for a union and then receive a city pension based on a high union salary. That arrangement is allowed under a state law signed by Gov. Jim Thompson on his last day in office in 1991, according to an investigation by the Tribune and WGN-TV.
The change has enabled a couple dozen labor leaders to become potential millionaires.
What is different in Gannon’s case is that he became eligible for the especially lucrative pension deal only because the city rehired the former Streets and Sanitation Department worker for one day in 1994, before granting him an indefinite leave of absence, according to the investigation. He retired from the city job in 2004 at age 50.
'Eligible under the law'
Gannon’s pension is so high that it exceeds federal limits and required Chicago’s pension fund to file special paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to give it to him, the Tribune reported.
"I am extremely proud of my many years of service to the city of Chicago and the working men and women of organized labor," Gannon wrote in a statement provided to the Tribune. "I have always followed the pension laws governed by the state of Illinois statute as well as the city of Chicago municipal pension plan."
Terrance Stefanski, who oversees Chicago’s municipal pension fund, confirmed to the newspaper that pension laws were followed in Gannon’s case.
"Once the city rehired him and he went on a leave of absence to work for the union, he was eligible under the law," Stefanski told the Tribune.
Pretty sweet gig if you can land it..A retired Chicago labor leader secured a $158,000 public pension — roughly five... more
AFTRA as well as IATSE members participated in the 32nd Annual Labor Day Solidarity March and Parade in Wilmington, CA on Monday Sept. 5th, 2011.
Dedicated union member and Los Angeles AFTRA Branch President Gabrielle Carterise and Organizing Manager Robert Henderson were among the marchers.AFTRA as well as IATSE members participated in the 32nd Annual Labor Day Solidarity... more
There's a holiday coming up. It's...it's...30% Off at Penny's Day? Um, how about Toyota Salebration Marathon Day? No, that's not right. Small Business Entrepreneur Day? Damn! That's what happens in July. It's that holiday about working folk. CEO Bonus Week? Unemployment Office Stand-in-Line Day? Nah, ooo, ooo, it's right on the tip of my tongue...Labor Day!There's a holiday coming up. It's...it's...30% Off at Penny's Day?... more
The decision by 45,000 workers at Verizon Communications businesses to go on strike Sunday over proposed benefit cuts reflects sharp battle lines. On one side is a highly profitable telecommunications company that is eager to trim costs in its declining businesses; on the other are unionized workers who fear that the many concessions demanded by their employer will force them to give up decades of hard-won gains.
The walkout is unusual at a time when unemployment is steep and organized labor has lost several big battles. But union leaders are angry that Verizon has budged little from its long list of demands during six weeks of negotiations. The unions have resisted Verizon’s requests for concessions on scores of issues because the company has been very profitable overall, with net income of $6.9 billion in the first six months of this year.
Verizon notes that most of its lines of business that deliver services over wires — the part of the company where the striking workers are employed — are in decline. The bulk of the company’s profits come from Verizon Wireless, a thriving, nonunion joint venture that is majority-owned by Verizon.
The strike is the largest in the nation since 74,000 General Motors workers walked out for two days in 2007, although some union leaders warned that the Verizon strike could last much longer because the two sides remain far apart.
Union leaders and workers said the walkout would inevitably cause significant delays in phone repairs and in installations of its fast-growing FiOS television and Internet services in customers’ homes. But Verizon officials said the company had tens of thousands of managers ready to step in to do the work normally done by the striking workers.
Verizon’s chief executive, Lowell C. McAdam, took a hard line on Sunday, arguing that workers in Verizon’s heavily unionized wireline businesses must agree to cost reductions. The wireline businesses, which include home and business telephone landlines as well as the FiOS services, have had declines in their customer base and profitability in the last decade, amid growing competition from mobile phones, cable companies and services like Skype and Vonage.
“It is clear that some of the existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today,” Mr. McAdam wrote in a letter on Sunday to the company’s management to discuss the strike. “As the U.S. automobile industry found out a few years ago, failure to make needed adjustments — when the need for change is obvious — can be catastrophic.”
The strike involves Verizon repair technicians, FiOS installers and call center workers from Massachusetts to Virginia. The walkout was called by the Communications Workers of America, which represents 35,000 of the strikers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents 10,000.
Verizon wants the unionized workers to start contributing to their health care premiums, including $1,300 to $3,000 a year toward family coverage. The company has also called for freezing pension contributions for current employees, eliminating traditional pensions for future workers, limiting sick days to five a year, and eliminating all job security provisions.
“What they’re asking is hard for us to swallow because the company had profits of $22 billion over the last four years,” said Joe Iorio, a field technician based in Brooklyn, who has worked for Verizon for 15 years. “They’re crying poverty, they say they can’t afford to pay us. We’re just not going to stand for it anymore.”
Several union members said they were insulted that they were being asked to make deep concessions when Verizon’s top five executives received a total of $258 million in compensation, including stock options, over the last four years.
Verizon says its unionized employees are well paid, with many field technicians earning more than $90,000 a year, including overtime, with an additional $50,000 in benefits. Union officials say the field technicians and call center workers generally earn $60,000 to $77,000 a year before overtime and that benefits come to far less than $50,000 a year.
Michael Parker, executive vice president for a communications workers’ local in Annapolis, Md., said it was not easy to go on strike. “It’s a scary thing — we have 45,000 families that don’t have income coming in,” he said. “But we have to draw a line in the sand and defend what we believe in. We bargained for 50 years to gain these things, and we don’t want to give that back.”
Jeff Kagan, founder of a telecommunications research firm in Georgia, said the strike would undoubtedly slow construction of Verizon’s FiOS network and installation of FiOS in homes, but the short-term hit was worth it to Verizon.
“Their traditional local phone business is shrinking, while the other parts of the business are still growing,” he said. “It’s just a matter of restructuring so they can remain competitive. If they’re not competitive, Verizon will lose business and everyone loses — investors, customers and workers.”
Richard Hurd, a professor of labor relations at Cornell, said the two unions felt Verizon was trying to humble them by pushing them to adopt some of the same, less generous benefits that many of the company’s 135,000 nonunion workers have. “When you challenge unions like that, in a sense the company is pushing them into a strike,” he said.
In 2000, Verizon had another big strike, when 86,000 workers walked out for two weeks, causing widespread delays in repairs.
As recently as Wednesday, union and Verizon officials said they thought a strike was highly unlikely. But several union officials said on Sunday that they were stunned that Verizon still had 100 proposals for concessions on the negotiating table on Saturday, including ones to eliminate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Veterans Day as holidays.
“No one expected six weeks of bargaining would produce absolutely no movement or compromise by the company,” said Robert Master, a communications workers spokesman. “This was an unprecedented situation.”
Verizon officials have repeatedly said that the two unions broke off talks on Sunday, but union officials said they have asked for new meetings, and Verizon has refused.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/business/in-verizon-strike-landlines-and-fios.html?sc... more
I had to take a trip down to Union Square yesterday which means this should officially be the next post for the 49 mile scenic trip around San Francisco, but it’s going to encompass a little bit more. When you get off the metro at Powell Street station and return to the land of living you’re confronted with something much different than your quiet little neighborhood where you started…PEOPLE!I had to take a trip down to Union Square yesterday which means this should officially... more
Led by union workers from across Texas, thousands of chanting marchers converged on the Capitol on Wednesday to protest the recently passed House budget's deep spending cuts to education, health care and state jobs.
"We are all in this together," Judy Lugo, president of the Texas State Employees Union, told the raucous, cheering crowd on the south steps of the Capitol. "Every Texan, now and for years to come, will suffer the consequences if the Texas Legislature does not change course."
"We must not pack our kids into overcrowded classrooms or dismantle our parents' and grandparents' nursing homes" or allow legislators to "paper over their mismanagement with pink slips for teachers and public servants," he said.
After gathering at Waterloo Park, the line of marchers stretched for five blocks on the route to the Capitol. Popular chants included "They say cut back, we say fight back" and "It's raining, it's pouring, Rick Perry is snoring."
The Texas State Employees Union, a lead organizer of the "Save Our State Rally," estimated that 6,000 to 7,000 people attended.
At the Capitol, Lugo pushed for spending more of the rainy day fund and asked legislators to find additional revenue to repair a budget shortfall caused by "decades of bad public policy" and a recession brought on by financiers, speculators and corporate leaders.
Workers, she said, "did not cause this problem, and we are not going to pick up the tab for it."
Senators have been looking for $5 billion in non-tax revenue to help pay for as much as $10 billion in additional education and health care spending that has been added to the Senate's version of the budget. The first phase of their findings will be laid out at a hearing today.
The groups also called for lawmakers to leave untouched the remainder of the state's rainy day fund. That money will be needed two years from now for the additional Medicaid costs that stem from federal health care reform, said Talmadge Heflin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a limited-government think tank.
A ZGraphix/Indymedia production.
Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
Videography by Jeff Zavala and Matt Gossage.
Photography by Rene Renteria.
http://renerenteria.comLed by union workers from across Texas, thousands of chanting marchers converged on... more
An excellent op-ed article offering a truly critical view of the real America: A highly militant conservative state that affects the psyche of all who dwell within.
From the the article:
"Rich conservatives not only produce moral panics and fund collective rage and anger; they also lobby for and finance the military-industrial-academic complex.(11) War provides jobs, profits, political payoffs, research funds and forms of political and economic power that reach into every aspect of society. As a mode of public pedagogy, a state of permanent war needs willing subjects to abide by its values, ideology and narratives of fear and violence. Such legitimation is largely provided through a culture addicted to the production of organized violence, largely circulated through various registers of popular and media culture that extend from high fashion, television and Hollywood movies to the production of violent video games and music concerts sponsored by the Pentagon. The spectacle of war demands a culture of conformity, quiet intellectuals and a largely passive republic of consumers. A hyper-militarized America lives amid a thick fog of historical and social amnesia more than willing to forget that wars not only cause economic distress, but also, as my colleague David L. Clark points out, renders human beings into machines, "converts economies into factories of death" and "threatens to transform the world into a vast graveyard."(12) But war is not something that takes place elsewhere, out of sight and out of mind; it also produces military-like interventions that take the form of a corporate war on the social state and a right-wing war on any mode of critical education."
http://www.truth-out.org/militarized-conservatism-and-endss-higher-educationAn excellent op-ed article offering a truly critical view of the real America: A... more
The Los Angeles Times appears to have broken the story, that a Wisconsin judge has blocked the implementation of the Wisconsin legislation against public sector unions. Notice that the challenge to the validity of the law was based on procedural grounds. One reader insisted no court would ever take up that sort of challenge. Funny, this judge looks pretty interested in trying that case.
From the Los Angeles Times:
A Wisconsin judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order blocking the new state law that curbs collective bargaining rights for most public employees.
Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi …was acting on a request by Dist. Atty. Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat, who had filed a lawsuit contending a legislative committee had violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law by pushing the measure onto the floor. That maneuver was key in unblocking the legislative stalemate and allowing the bill to be signed by Walker on March 11.
Dave Dayen at FireDogLake provides additional commentary:
Sumi stressed that she was not judging on the merits of the legislation, but on the specifics of the open meeting requirements. Wisconsin law requires that public meetings are announced with 24 hours notice, 2 hours if there’s some extenuating circumstance which prevents advanced planning. The meeting in question, the conference committee, actually had less than two hours notice. “I have been shown no rule that overrides the statutory requirement,” Judge Sumi said.
The legislature in Wisconsin could simply re-do the conference committee, under the rules, and pass the bill again. Since they believe it’s a “non-fiscal” bill, quorum requirements would not apply. Alternatively, with the Fab 14 Senators back in Madison, they could just pass the budget repair bill they wanted all along, and have the quorum to do so, unless the Democrats leave the state again.
But this temporary restraining order will stop the implementation scheduled for March 25. And it drags out the process once again, keeping it in the headlines. This is not at all what Scott Walker and the Republicans facing recall elections wanted to see.
In addition, it gives time for other legal cases to be brought. There could be municipal challenges that the law’s changes in pension contributions violates “home rule” provisions that allow the cities and towns to govern their own pensions for their workers.The Los Angeles Times appears to have broken the story, that a Wisconsin judge has... more
A short animated sketch where Governor Scott Walker reveals his darkest turn-ons. Cameo by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/0805688e07/gov-scott-walker-sex-addictA short animated sketch where Governor Scott Walker reveals his darkest turn-ons.... more