Saturday, December 26, 2009


The Senate passed health care reform by a 60-39 margin shortly after 7 a.m. on December 24.

Washington, D.C.-- While passage of this legislation continues the momentum for health care reform, the Senate bill itself doesn’t live up to the kind of reform we need. The bill has many positive features, but it falls short in three key areas:

• It is paid for by a tax on working families’ health benefits.

• It fails to provide a public health insurance option, which would control costs by giving insurance companies real competition.

• It does not do enough to make sure employers are living up to their responsibility.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, "For this health care bill to be worthy of the support of working men and women, substantial changes must be made. The AFL-CIO intends to fight on behalf of all working families to make those changes and win health care reform that is deserving of the name."

He added, the House bill is the model for genuine health care reform. Working people cannot accept anything less than real reform.

The Senate’s bill does make some important improvements. It would cover 30 million more people, providing subsidies to lower- and middle-income people to help them pay for health coverage. It also sets necessary regulations on insurance companies to prevent some of their worst practices. It creates important reforms to our medical system, provides relief to early retirees and begins to close the “donut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Unfortunately, in many ways the bill is too tilted toward the insurance industry and away from working families—it does not do enough to hold insurers accountable or keep costs down for families.

The U.S. House passed a bill that was far better on critical points like funding, employer responsibility and a public option. The Senate could have, and should have, passed a better bill. But the intransigence of Republicans who refused to participate or even support a vote on health care reform, the powerful leverage of the insurance industry and the rules of the Senate, which allow a small number of Senators to hold legislation hostage, left the Senate with a disappointing and inadequate bill.

Unions should be adamantly opposed to the Senate plan, which would impose a 40 percent tax on high-cost health insurance above $8,500 for an individual plan, $23,000 for families. Organized labor sees the tax on so-called Cadillac plans as a hit on its members, who have fought for years for better-than-average coverage. Unions are a core Democratic constituency and many House Democrats want to knock out the insurance tax.

The Obama administration, however, supports such a tax. In a recent session with reporters, White House economic adviser Christina Romer called the tax "a very effective cost-growth containment mechanism," arguing that it will force people into more efficient plans.

House and Senate leaders now must come together and craft a combined bill that each side will need to vote on once more. The process of creating this combined bill is a vital opportunity for real health care reform, and we must let our members of Congress know what real reform means.


Gillibrand, Kirsten E. - (D - NY) 
478 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-4451

Schumer, Charles E. - (D - NY) 
313 Hart Senate Office Building, Washigton, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6542

U.S. House:

Dan Maffei
New York-25th, Democrat
1630 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3225
Phone: (202) 225-3701

Chris Lee
New York-26th, Republican
1711 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3226
Phone: (202) 225-5265

Louise Slaughter
New York-28th, Democrat
2469 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3228
Phone: (202) 225-3615

Eric Massa
New York-29th, Democrat
1208 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-3229
Phone: (202) 225-3161

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Rochester, N.Y.-- The CSEA officers of Local 828 Monroe County want to wish all our members and their loved ones a safe and happy holiday season.  If you need to contact the Local 828 office during the next two weeks, please email President Bess Watts at

Your Local 828 officers:

Bess Watts, Local 828 President (MCC)
Cris Zaffuto, VP (Unit 7400 President)
Ove Overmyer, VP (Rochester Public Library)
T. Judith Johnson, VP (Public Defender's Office)
Sue Newman, Secretary (DMV)
Pat Wolff, Treasurer (MCC Damon Campus)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



Rochester, N.Y.-- Monroe County has recently announced that County employees represented by CSEA may use payroll deduction for voluntary benefits through Norvest Financial.

NOTE: These benefits are not supported by CSEA. In addition, there are CSEA approved voluntary benefits available to CSEA members through payroll deduction. If you have a desire to learn more about CSEA endorsed voluntary benefits, please go here to this link: CSEA insurance.

Local 828 President Watts encourages all members to educate themselves on all benefit opportunities, whether they originate from their employer or from their union.

If you would like to enroll in any of the many CSEA approved voluntary insurance benefits, please call Charley Swartz at 1.800.775.4957.

Monday, December 21, 2009


CSEA WNY Region 6 President
Flo Tripi
(photo by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.-- Western New York Region 6 President Flo Tripi was a guest essayist for Rochester's largest daily newspaper, The Democrat & Chronicle, on Saturday, December 19th. 

The publishing of this article couldn't of been more timely, with CSEA and all public employees being targeted as the scapegoats for a dysfunctional state government that exercised the biggest deficit reduction plan during a mid-year budget. 

Leaders in the labor community often describe getting published in the notoriously anti-union Gannett owned newspapers as a real accomplishment.  To read the article, please go here .



Attention all CSEA members:  As a result of member input with regard to confidentiality, workers Social Security Numbers are being replaced by CSEA ID numbers for CSEA business. 

The issue was one of many key changes that are now being implemented after the very successful Electronic Town Hall Meeting at the Annual Delegates Meeting back in September.

Starting in January, you will receive your 2010 CSEA/AFSCME membership card with a new CSEA ID NUMBER. You will no longer have to use your Social Security number to identify yourself as a CSEA member.

You will be receiving your card via U.S. Postal Service to your home address sometime during the first month of the year.  If you have any questions about the change, please contact CSEA HQ toll free in Albany at 1.800.342.4146 (choose membership option).


Friday, December 18, 2009


photo by Ove Overmyer

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Some might call today's development politically naive or strategically dumb.  What could the Governor possibly be thinking?  In a New York Post interview, Paterson suggests state worker layoffs might be back in play.  These comments that were made by the candidate for Governor have puzzled most observers and is raising more than a few eyebrows in the labor movement.  With such low approval ratings, maybe he thinks he has nothing to lose.

What is particularly fascinating about this annoucement, it comes on the heels of the U.S. House passing a bill on December 16 to improve state and local government budgets to keep public employees on the job.  Does he ever talk to our friends on Capitol Hill?

The New York Post report quotes Paterson as saying layoffs could be possible "if we see a serious downtown in revenues" from state tax collections.  But Public Employees Federation spokesperson Darcy Wells told an Albany television news station that the union intends to hold the Governor to his agreement reached this summer which ended Paterson's threat to cut 8,900 state jobs.

Wells said Governor Paterson "agreed to no layoffs through December 2010" if the union accepted buyout deals and gave the green light to a less lucrative Tier Five pension plan for new state employees.

According to the article, Paterson is now saying if the state's economic situation 'becomes dire enough," he would revisit the possibility of handing out pink slips to state workers.  Is this an attempt to placate the business community, or does he really think we can continue to do more with less?

Our brothers and sisters who are the Public Employees Federation, which represents about 59,000 state employees, have repeatedly suggested to the Governor that millions of taxpayer dollars could be saved by cutting the use of private consultants and allowing state workers to do the same work at considerable savings.

There seems to be some movement here.  According to the PEF website, employees of the SUNY Research Foundation who work for the office of Medicaid Inspector general and the state are exploring the possibility of making these positions state employee positions and could convert them under the provisions of section 45 of the civil service law.

In a statement released today, PEF also suggested Paterson has the power to offer more voluntary severance deals for thousands of state employees who have been unable to participate.

CSEA officials also issued a statement today saying "we have a no layoffs agreement with the Governor and we expect him to uphold it."  Flo Tripi, WNY Region 6 President, has repeatedly stated that the Governor must keep his word.

Is the political climate in New York State and Washington, D.C. casting a pall over your holidays?  Well, maybe one indication of this trend could be illustrated by the results of a survey that has named New York State residents as the most unhappiest people in America.  The happiness ratings were based on a survey of 1.3 million people across the country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It used data collected over four years that included a question asking people how satisfied they are with their lives.  To read an article about the survey, click here.

Our dysfunctional state lawmakers in Albany better be prepared for a turbulent and riotous election cycle in 2010.  Incumbents beware.

Trumka: Senate Health Care Bill Must Change to Be Real Reform

Washington, D.C.--  "The health care bill being considered by the U.S. Senate is inadequate and too tilted toward the insurance industry," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said on December 17.

In recent days, as the Senate has debated health care reform, small numbers of senators have held health care hostage by threatening to block a vote. The new proposal by the Senate puts the interests of insurance companies—and senators who would rather look out for the insurance companies—ahead of real reform.

Trumka said the top priority now is to fight over the rest of the legislative process to fix the bill and make sure we can pass real health care reform.

Trumpka adds, "The labor movement has been fighting for health care for nearly 100 years and we are not about to stop fighting now, when it really matters. But for this health care bill to be worthy of the support of working men and women, substantial changes must be made. The AFL-CIO intends to fight on behalf of all working families to make those changes and win health care reform that is deserving of the name."

The absolute refusal of Republicans in the Senate to support health care reform and the hijacking of the bill by defenders of the insurance industry have brought us a Senate bill that is inadequate: It is too kind to the insurance industry.

Genuine health care reform must bring down health costs, hold insurance companies accountable, assure that Americans can get the health care they need and be financed fairly.

While the Senate’s bill makes a lot of important and necessary changes to our health care system, it falls short in three key areas:

•It lacks a public health insurance option, to offer real competition to insurance companies to bring down costs.

•It fails to make sure employers take responsibility and pay their fair share.

•It’s funded through a new tax on working families’ health care benefits.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The bill passed by the U.S. House is far better than the Senate’s bill on these and other measures. The House bill finances health care through a small tax on the very wealthiest of earners—those who reaped vast benefits from the Bush tax cuts—and it includes a public health insurance plan and real responsibility for employers. Trumka says:

The House bill is the model for genuine health care reform. Working people cannot accept anything less than real reform.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Olbermann: Ruined Senate bill unsupportable

Conservatives have destroyed this version of health care reform

In a Special Comment segment, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann stresses that he does not support the current “perversion of health care reform,” urging Senate Democrats to drop the bill. 

This report is the most cogent analysis ever delivered on the ongoing health care debate.  This is required reading and viewing if you care at all about the future of our working families.  Please check it out.

Meanwhile, labor leaders from SEIU and the AFL-CIO will be issuing a formal statement very soon about the lastest developments in the Senate health care bill.  Stay tuned.


Washington, D.C.-- On December 16, the U.S. House passed a critical bill to assist our struggling economy and create jobs.

By a 217-212 vote, the House passed a package that would extend unemployment insurance, aid state governments and fund important infrastructure projects. Some of these initiatives are renewals of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which are set to expire at the end of the year.

The House’s bill would help state and local governments retain teachers and firefighters and maintain services critical in this time of economic hardship. It also would create jobs by funding public works projects like school construction, rail, transit, water systems and highways. And by extending unemployment insurance and COBRA health care coverage, it gives critical help to those suffering from the jobs crisis at a time when the economy needs consumer demand. The House bill is paid for out of bank bailout funds, so it will not impact the deficit.

The bill must next be approved by the U.S. Senate. But unless we light a fire under lawmakers, nothing will move before the end of the year and the unemployment insurance for millions of jobless workers will expire.

Tell U. S. Senators to pass the Jobs for Main Street Act (H.R. 2847), which invests $154 billion to create and save jobs. Again, the bill invests in highway and mass transit projects, building and repairing schools and low-income housing, creating and saving jobs for teachers, police and firefighters and additional hiring and training programs. The bill also extends recovery act initiatives to help small businesses create jobs, lifeline unemployment, health care and food aid to people who have lost their jobs and cuts taxes for 16 million families through the Child Tax Credit.  Public libraries need to be included in the funding streams to help America get back on it's feet.  Libraries and library workers are part of solution to economic recovery. 

You can view the roll call on the House vote here.

We need to urgently create jobs and deal with our unemployment crisis. Aid to state governments, extending the lifeline to unemployed workers and funding infrastructure projects are key components of the AFL-CIO’s five-point plan to create jobs. The House’s bill is a down payment, but we must continue to take robust action on jobs.

How this affects New York State:

New York state government, school districts and local governments would receive additional federal aid early next year under a $174 billion jobs bill.

The Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010 would move $75 billion from the Troubled Assets Relief Program to spend on infrastructure projects and public sector jobs.  House Democrats said the new money would prevent the economy from dipping back into recession. 

Republicans objected to the new spending and pointed out that much of the $787 billion economic stimulus legislation enacted in February has not yet been spent.

In Albany, state officials would have a somewhat less challenging task preparing for the fiscal year that begins in April because the package also includes additional Medicaid money through June 2011.

The Medicaid money would supplement the Medicaid aid Congress provided earlier this year in a federal economic stimulus bill. That legislation, however, cut off an enhanced federal Medicaid formula on Dec. 31 of next year.

The U.S. Senate is not expected to take up this legislation until early next year.  And, we still have to get through the health care debate!

The federal legislation includes:

$27.5 billion for highway projects.

$23 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to preserve 250,000 jobs over the next two years; states would be required to pass along 95 percent of the money to school districts and colleges.

$8.4 billion for public transportation.

$4.1 billion for school renovation grants.

$2 billion for communities to use for drinking water and sewer projects.

$2 billion for Department of Energy innovation loans to promote renewable energy and electric transmission projects.

$1.18 billion to hire 5,500 law enforcement officers.

$1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund to develop and rehabilitate affordable housing.

$1 billion for public housing authorities to use for capital projects.

$800 million for Amtrak to buy new trains and locomotives and rehabilitate existing equipment.

$500 million for rehiring firefighters (hopefully in Canandaigua).

$500 million for airport improvements.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Is this the kind of healthcare reform we expect?


Washington, D.C.-- If Democrats remove the choice of a public option, they can't force Americans to buy health insurance.

Here's the deal:  Senate leaders are all over Washington claiming they finally have a healthcare reform bill they can pass, as long as they remove the public option. After all, they say, even without a public option, the bill still "covers 30 million more Americans." The problem is that's not really true.

What they are actually talking about is something called the "individual mandate." That's a section of the law that requires every single American buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn't actually "cover" 30 million more Americans -- instead it makes them criminals if they don't buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess.

A public option would have provided the competition needed to drive down costs and improve coverage. It would have kept insurance companies honest by providing an affordable alternative Americans can trust. That's why, without a public option, this bill is almost a trillion dollar taxpayer giveaway to insurance companies.

We must act fast. Both Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senators need to hear from you. Please stop whatever else you are doing and make the calls right now.

Senator Harry Reid

DC: (202) 224-3542

Carson City: (775) 882-7343

Las Vegas: (702) 388-5020

Reno: (775) 686-5750

Call your Democratic Senator too -- Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


 (These opinions are authored by Ove Overmyer and do not reflect the message of CSEA, INC. or the Rochester Public Library.)

photo by Ove Overmyer

Albany, N.Y. --  After months of press reports demonstrating and lauding increased library use around the state and highlighting the critical role that New York libraries play in helping hundreds of thousands of taxpayers deal with today’s economic challenges, the final “Deficit Reduction Plan” read the Governor's press release included a whopping 12.5 percent cut in the remaining library state aid programs for this year.

Many public employees who are represented by CSEA work in library settings, including Local 828 MCC Unit 7402, Town of Irondequoit Library Workers and City of Rochester Library Workers Unit 7420.  Understandably, we are very concerned about the wellness of our members and our library systems. 

These midyear cuts mean just under 5 percent of this year’s State Aid to the Libraries budget will never reach their intended goal.  Over twenty months time, library aid support has been reduced from $102 million to $80 million -- now equal to funding support in 1998.

The cuts will total about $4.1 million throughout the state, said New York Library Association Executive Director Michael J. Borges. He said that during the past 20 months, the state library budget has been cut by $25 million.

The 12.5 percent reduction was part of across-the-board cuts to a wide range of local assistance programs including social services, health care, aging, mental hygiene, transit and higher education.

While libraries were not singled out for these cuts, their impact on the greater community is substantial and for some, devastating to our members and patrons.  While we know there are many points of view on the matter, it should be noted that some lawmakers believe that these cuts were necessary to avoid raising taxes and fees and will result in saving jobs as well as “reforming government.”  We have a message for them.  There is no way you can reduce a state library budget by 12.5 percent without local communities suffering in the short term.

This happenstance will only create more work with less resources to handle the crisis facing libraries across New York State.  Let's turn our concerns into action.  Communicate with your legislators.  Tell them your stories.  Be sure that your patrons, friends and family know of the impact of these funding cuts will have on the quality of your life.

Rather than closing library doors, it has been suggested that something more radical, but in keeping with our commitment to our mission and our exceptional reputation for service-- libraries might be turning our lights and computers off for a day and remain open to the public.  Do you think this might get the attention of the general public? 

Will libraries ever become the priority and mandated investment that the citizens of this great state demand?  Just ask someone on unemployment insurance or the single mother trying to educate her kids.  Why is it that the neediest in our community always take it on the chin?

We need to educate our local and state officials about our library programs and how our members work loads and livelihoods are hanging in the balance.  Do taxpayers really understand how indispensable we are to every community in New York State?  Can we demonstrate that libraries and CSEA library workers are necessary components for our state and country's economic recovery?  What is required to get a fair share of funding? 

The next time you visit your public or school library, ask a staff person how they are doing.  Then maybe you might be able to get a handle on how these library cuts will continue to erode the fabric of our educational infastructure. 

We know these are tough times.  We believe our workers and libraries hold the answers to getting us out of this recession.  Libraries shouldn't be the scapegoats for the political and fiscal mess that was created by our dysfunctional state legislature and our ineffectual governor.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


UCAN Workshop sets 2010 schedule:

Rochester, N.Y.--  The Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Cornell University ILR School present the Union Community Assistance Network educational program called, "Preparing Labor Leaders for Challenging Times."

The UCAN training is a 2-day workshop. The sessions will be Tuesday, January 19, and Monday, January 25, 2010, at NYSUT, 30 North Union Street, Rochester, NY 14607, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Bess Watts, CSEA Local 828 president, encourages Unit Presidents to attend.  If you would like to participate in this unique educational opportunity, Watts suggests you contact her or Barb at the CSEA Local 828 office during business hours, 585.328.5250.

Participation fee is $100 per participant and includes meals and materials. To register, contact Mark Miller (585) 242-6491 or .

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


City of Rochester library workers and WXXI volunteers
left to right:
Margaret Chatterton (Central) and Renee Kendrot (Central)

Rochester, N.Y.-- On Tuesday evening, December 8th, workers from CSEA Local 828 City of Rochester Library Workers Unit 7420 volunteered to operate the phone banks at WXXI studios for their annual membership drive.  Margaret Chatterton and Renee Kendot, both who work at the Central Library, say that volunteering for WXXI is not hard work.  Chatterton says talking to the community is "alot of fun."  Kendrot takes it one step further by saying, "I think it's very important to give back to WXXI because their programming has enriched all our lives, and I want to thank them for that." 

CSEA, the Rochester Public Library and WXXI have developed a strong collaborative relationship over several decades, dating back to the days of Monroe County Library System and Rochester Public Library Director Harold Hacker.  Mr. Hacker was a co-founder of WXXI. He made his mark on our community by helping residents of Monroe County persue a life of knowledge, inquiry and reading.  In his honor, the library workers donate volunteer hours every year on his behalf.  Mr. Hacker passed away in October of 2006.

When Hacker took over the Rochester Public Libraries and Monroe County Library System, boundaries between the library systems made it difficult for patrons to take advantage of all the resources in the region. 

It was no small task to get more than a dozen library boards to come together and devise a system that allows patrons to access collections of all public libraries in Monroe County, but Mr. Hacker persisted.

Today, residents of towns with smaller libraries can easily take advantage of the more than one million books, videos, cassettes and other materials found, for example, at the Central Library downtown. Smaller libraries with rare materials can share with people across the county who are interested in them.

Hacker didn't stop with libraries. He was a public broadcasting visionary who fought to secure a local channel for public broadcasting, even before the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio had been created by the federal government. The result was Channel 21, which was launched in 1966. Since then, WXXI has grown to five television channels and four radio stations.

In this spirit of cooperation, CSEA is proud to carry on the traditions of community service and volunteerism in the name of our late Director Mr. Harold Hacker.  This community should see much more of Harold's kind of commitment to educating the public. Additionally, local community, political and labor leaders should remember his spirit of cooperation. By working together, we can create a better community.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009



posted by Ove Overmyer

Rochester, N.Y.--  The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), is a proposed bill in the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for civilian nonreligious employers with over 15 employees.

While current federal law protects working people from firing or penalization based on race, religion, national origin, gender and/or physical ability, there is no federal law to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers from being victimized in the workplace. This means that in 31 states, it is legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay or bisexual. In 39 states, it is legal to fire someone because they are transgender. 

Right now, initiatives to outlaw such unfair treatment are gaining ground in the union movement.  This includes the AFL-CIO, AFSCME and CSEA.  Along with Pride At Work, a constituency group of the AFL-CIO, all these organizations and many other unions are making unprecedented efforts to support this legislation.

ENDA has been introduced in every Congress, except the 109th, since 1994, albeit without gender identity protections, but gained its best chance at passing after the Democratic Party broke twelve years of Republican Congressional rule in the 2006 midterm elections. However, some sponsors believed that even with a Democratic majority, ENDA did not have enough votes to pass the House of Representatives with transgender inclusion, and dropped it from the bill, which passed and subsequently died in the Senate.

In 2009, on the heels of the 2008 elections that strengthened the Democratic majority, and after the debacle of the 2007 ENDA divisions, only a transgender-inclusive ENDA has been introduced by House representative Barney Frank. President Barack Obama supports the bill's passage unlike his Republican predecessor, who threatened to veto the measure.

In the coming weeks, the fate of ENDA will be decided. Right now there's been a delay in the House of Representatives taking it up in committee, so it's critical that your elected officials hear from you TODAY. We must ensure that all LGBT people are protected from workplace discrimination.

CSEA Local 828 President Bess Watts says, “As a union, it is important that all workers be judged by the work they do not for who they are or what they believe. Employment discrimination of any kind is immoral and denies workers the dignity, respect and equality they deserve in the workplace."

She adds, "In many states you can be fired because of your sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, and this is simply wrong. ENDA should have passed ages ago and in my opinion is long overdue.  We encourage all members to contact their representatives before the Christmas break.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009


NYS Retirement System Gets Major Overhaul with Tier V

Albany, N.Y.-- Incoming NYS public employees that pay into the retirement system have an even larger target on their back these days.

On December 2, lawmakers approved with no debate a massive pension reform bill which sailed through both houses of the state legislature. Governor Paterson says the bill does not go far enough to get us out of our fiscal mess, but vows to make it happen anyway.

Under a three-way agreement with the Governor, Assembly and the Senate, the measure established a new Tier V. Advocates say it will cut over $2.7 billion for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. State lawmakers also say that it is expected to save taxpayers over $48 billion over the next three decades. To read the NYS Assembly Extraordinary Session Bill A 26, click here. To read the senate spin machine on passing this bill, click here.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), says the legislation applies to both uniformed and non-uniformed employees and significantly reforms the pension system. Silver also says the legislation sets the stage for the long term financial stability for state and local governments and that a new public employee classification is vital to the state's fiscal wellness. That remains to be seen.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson said in a press release this legislation is an absolute necessity for putting our fiscal house on sound footing. He added, "The Tier V reforms represent a major step forward to help bring pension costs under control.”

Critics argue that creating a new Tier does nothing to immediately address the fiscal woes of the state. In a September 27 Huffington Post article titled, Tier V: Part of the Universal Conspiracy on Pensions, a Room Eight author says this bill adds greed to greed without understanding what it might do to vital public services New York citizens expect and deserve.

CSEA WNY Region 6 President Flo Tripi says, "We made an agreement with the Governor back in late spring not to oppose a Tier V. Do we like it? No. Did we want this to happen? No. However, when you are balancing the lives of 9,000 workers who might be let go against the Tier V system for new employees, it was a concession in the best interest of CSEA and the state."

Tripi also states that negotiations will be made to improve the retiree benefits of the new Tier V employees represented by CSEA, if any are hired at all. She added, "This bill is completely unfair to new workers who will be paying into a system that won't reward them for many years to come. Lawmakers don't want to be asked how this bill could possibly help this present fiscal disaster that is going to gut public services, given the fact that we will probably not see any new hires for quite some time anyway."

Many pundits also contend that the only reason the Equal Marriage Bill came up for a vote in the Senate on the same day as the deficit reduction plan is to deflect any attention away from the serious consequences of passing such drastic legislation. Watch the senate marriage debate here.
Lawmakers would prefer answering constituient questions about how they voted on the marriage bill rather than address how and why vital services continue to erode around us. Additionally, legislators also do not want the public to ask them about the debate that didn't occur. Here we have a current generation of lawmakers who basically stuck their finger in the eyeball of every future CSEA member in New York State.
Major elements of the plan include:
*$1.6 billion in cuts and temporary cash transfers from agencies to the general fund, already ordered by Governor Paterson. The cuts include 11 percent to most state agencies, which are asked to avoid layoffs.

*$391 million in federal stimulus funds for education that will not be dispersed. These funds were targeted for fiscal year 2010-2011.

*$250 million projected to be collected under a new tax amnesty program.

*More than $600 million in cuts to several programs, including healthcare, that supposedly will not eliminate jobs.

*The plan also includes some so-called revenue raisers, including $200 million anticipated from video slot machines at Aqueduct race track.

Paterson complained that the legislature rejected the toughest measures. He said that lawmakers are afraid of the "powerful" public employee unions who are protecting their turf.

The legislation also puts a cap on the amount of overtime that can be used in calculating pension benefits. Pension payments are traditionally based on an employee’s final average salary.

These changes do not affect existing employees because of state constitutional prohibitions against reduction of benefits for existing pension system members.

Thursday, December 3, 2009



Allentown, Pa.-- There is no bottom in sight for working families who are struggling to keep their jobs, health care and homes and they know that our leaders must take immediate action to create and save jobs. Jobs -- good jobs -- are what it's all about. Now it's time for leaders in Washington to understand that too -- and thankfully many do. Today's jobs forum is an important opportunity to gather the best ideas for job creation. But it can't substitute for action. The summit will only mean something if it triggers an urgent round of actions to create American jobs. It's simply wrong that people who worked hard are paying for the sins of Wall Street with their jobs, and we can't sit back and hope it takes care of itself.

I'm taking the AFL-CIO's 5-point plan to the summit today. In the weeks ahead, we will be working every day with business leaders and elected officials at every level, mobilizing and helping the White House and Congress get something done. Where there’s obstruction, we’ll expose it and push through it. Where there’s leadership, we’ll do everything we can to help them succeed.

The 5 actions we think have the greatest promise to create and save 2 million jobs are:

1. Extend the lifeline for jobless workers. Unless Congress acts now, supplemental unemployment benefits, additional food assistance and expansion of COBRA health care benefits will expire at the end of the year. They must be extended for another 12 months to prevent working families from bankruptcy, home foreclosure and loss of health care. Extending benefits also will boost personal spending and create jobs throughout the economy.

2. Rebuild America’s schools, roads and energy systems. America still has at least $2.2 trillion in unmet infrastructure needs. We should put people to work to fix our nation’s broken-down school buildings and invest in transportation, green technology, energy efficiency and more.

3. Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services. State and local governments and school districts have a $178 billion budget shortfall this year alone—while the recession creates greater need for their services. States and communities must get help to maintain critical frontline services, prevent massive job cuts and avoid deep damage to education just when our children need it most.

4. Put people to work doing work that needs to be done. If the private sector can't or won't provide the needed jobs, the government should step up to the plate, putting people who need jobs together with work that needs to be done. These should never be replacements for existing public jobs. They must pay competitive wages and should target distressed communities.

5. Put TARP funds to work for Main Street. The bank bailout helped Wall Street, not Main Street . We should put some of the billions of dollars in leftover Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to work creating jobs by enabling community banks to lend money to small- and medium-size businesses. If small businesses can get credit, they will create jobs.

For more information, click here or view the Spotlight On Jobs video.