Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Voter Suppression Groups have been identified in Rochester, N.Y.
Rochester, N.Y. -- The following information is true and accurate. Please share it widely.
A number of our supporters have reached out to the Slaughter campaign saying that they have been receiving harassing phone calls from a group based in San Diego, similar to the harassing calls that went out against Democratic State Senate candidate Ted O'Brien earlier this month. This group has been rudely calling voters 5 or 6 times per day, asking if they are voting for Louise, and then hanging up.
We have also had supporters reach out to the campaign to tell us that individuals unaffiliated with the campaign have been knocking on doors in the inner city, identifying themselves as canvassers for Louise, and telling supporters of Louise that they "don't have to vote anymore" because they're being "checked off the list."
Even more disturbing, we have been alerted that True the Vote, a national voter suppression group that has been profiled by The New York Times, the Fairport-East Rochester Post and other outlets, has established a presence here in Rochester, and plans to be active here on Election Day.
In order to combat these underhanded tactics, the Slaughter campaign is undertaking a number of steps.
Right now, we've got a dedicated team of lawyers in place that has been working with our campaign as well as community leaders to make sure voting rights are protected.
The Slaughter campaign will be conducting a voter education campaign in Rochester this Thursday, November 1st from 6-8pm at New Life Fellowship Church, 330 Wellington Avenue, and also at Mt. Venon Missionary Baptist Church, 351 Joseph Avenue. These sessions are intended to ensure that people are confident in their right to vote so that they will not be deterred by any outside group's effort to suppress them.
In addition, Common Cause and the NYCLU have partnered up in a joint election-day effort to ensure Rochesterians, especially minorities and seniors who are usually the targets of voter suppression efforts, are afforded one of their most sacred rights as citizens -- the right to vote.
OTHER KEY INFO: The Monroe County Board of Elections would never call a person and tell them their polling place has changed. This info would be shared in writing on Monroe County Board of Elections letterhead.
Rochester, N.Y.-- CSEA library workers are partnering with public and private library employers to advocate for "right-sizing" New York State's share of library funding. This video was presented to the NYS legislative delegation from the Rochester & Finger Lakes area. Video production by Ove Overmyer.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Be Prepared for Sandy
CSEA is urging members and their families to be prepared for a potentially devastating storm should Hurricane Sandy strike New York. Part of that preparation is knowing how to be safe at work and home during the storm and subsequent cleanup.
Access storm preparation and cleanup awareness guidelines from CSEA's Occupational Safety and Health Department and the American Red Cross.
Cleaning up from a Tropical Storm
Storm Clean-up Information
New York-- As the National Hurricane Center warned on Sunday of a “life-threatening storm surge” that could cause record-breaking coastal flooding, tens of millions of residents from Delaware to southern New England braced for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. The authorities across the region ordered the evacuation of many low-lying areas, including parts of New York City, and the shutdown of subway, bus and railroad services in New York and New Jersey.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg urged residents in low-lying areas to be out by 7 p.m., the same time that transit service would be suspended.
“We’re going to have a lot of impact, starting with the storm surge,” said Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Think, ‘Big.’ ”
Though the hurricane is not expected to make landfall until sometime late Monday, coastal regions will be hit by gale-force winds, heavy rain and possible flooding as early as Sunday, said Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center. Tropical storm conditions were being felt in parts of North Carolina on Sunday, though the storm was 250 miles off the coast.
“Sandy is a large hurricane, and large systems pose multiple hazards for more people than smaller systems of comparable intensity,” Dr. Knabb said.
Forecasters warned that it could ravage areas far beyond the projected trajectory, and they urged people to heed evacuation calls and to prepare for the worst.
In its latest report, the Hurricane Center said the storm surge could be as high as 11 feet above normal along Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay — a significantly higher forecast than in previous reports — and warned that major flooding could occur across a broad area of the East Coast. Forecasters also expected torrential rains in some regions, which would add to the flooding.
And then there is the snow.
As Hurricane Sandy approaches land, it will be drawn into a system known as a midlatitude trough, a severe winter storm that is moving across the country from the west. A burst of arctic air is expected to sweep down through the Canadian Plains just as they are converging. That could lead to several feet of snow in West Virginia and Kentucky and lighter amounts in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Temperatures could drop into the mid-20s.
In announcing the transit shutdown, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said it was unsafe to operate trains in high winds. He also said the closing was intended as a signal to discourage New York-area residents from being “up and about.”
The subway system will begin to curtail service at 7 p.m., and the transit authority’s railroads, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, will begin their final trips at the same time, some buses may remain in service until 9 p.m. (It takes about eight hours for the subways to be shut down, but only six for the bus system.)
“The transportation system is the lifeblood of the New York City region, and suspending all service is not a step I take lightly,” Mr. Cuomo said. “But keeping New Yorkers safe is the first priority, and the best way to do that is to make sure they are out of harm’s way before gale-force winds can start wreaking havoc on trains and buses.”
Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said he expected the transit systems to restore at least some service about 12 hours after the storm passes over the area, but he warned that the city could be without transit for as many as two full working days. “I do think Monday and Tuesday are going to be difficult days,” Mr. Lhota said.
He said that if sustained winds reached 39 miles per hour, drivers on the bridges would be required to slow down. At 60 m.p.h., they would be closed to traffic. Outbound trips on the authority’s paratransit service, Access-A-Ride, were scheduled only until noon on Sunday; return trips would continue until 5 p.m.
A full-scale closing of the subways, which run 24 hours a day, had never been ordered until August 2011, as Tropical Storm Irene approached. That storm toppled trees onto the tracks of the commuter rails, flooded train yards and led to millions of dollars in lost fares for the authority, which submitted $65 million in insurance claims this year to recover those losses. The closing this year could prove even more devastating.
Mayor Bloomberg said that city offices would be open Monday and that “city employees should make every effort to report to their jobs on Monday morning.”
City parks and marinas would close at 5 p.m. Sunday, he said. The New York Stock Exchange said in a statement that it would remain open on Monday, but would continue to monitor the weather.
He called for a mandatory evacuation of Zone A, low-lying areas that include the Rockaways, Coney Island and Red Hook after he revised his assessment of the storm’s potential impact. He said about 375,000 people would have to evacuate. (A guide to those areas can be found here.)
He added that those who ignored the evacuation order were “not going to get arrested, but they are being, I would argue, very selfish.”
Governors across the region have declared emergencies, and federal officials have issued urgent warnings for people to prepare.
From Plymouth, Me., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., residents boarded up windows; stocked up on water, batteries and food; and prepared to hunker down. Airlines encouraged people with flights scheduled in the next few days to change their plans and waived cancellation fees. Though airports remained open, major airlines including Delta, United and American, announced that flights would be canceled.
American Airlines said it canceled 140 flights on Sunday and would cancel an additional 1,431 flights from Monday through Wednesday.
Amtrak has also shut down train service to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington and New York.
At supply stores across the region, generators and other goods were snapped up in preparation for the possibility of extended power failures.
Tens of thousands of people who live on the state’s densely populated barrier islands — from Sandy Hook to Cape May — were evacuating on Sunday in compliance with an order issued by Gov. Chris Christie.
The evacuation included the 40,000 residents of Atlantic City, where the casinos closed at 3 p.m. on Sunday. All New Jersey Transit service, including buses and rail and light rail lines, were to be suspended starting at 4 p.m.
In Rehoboth Beach, Del., a long line of cars snaked out of town, adhering to the evacuation order announced Saturday night. But some families stopped to take one last picture of the pounding surf.
“It’s just magnificent looking at this,” said Lori Watson, a Rehoboth Beach resident who lives several miles inland and was not evacuating.
Federal officials, in a briefing with reporters on Sunday, could not say for certain where the impact would be worst. Dr. Knabb of the National Hurricane Center said the storm is most likely to come ashore sometime late Monday between Long Island and the Delmarva Peninsula. But he said the storm’s effects would stretch far up and down the coast and deep inland.
Reporting was contributed by Matt Flegenheimer and Colin Moynihan from New York; Brian Stelter from Rehoboth Beach, Del.; Jon Hurdle from Philadelphia; Stacey Stowe from Yonkers; and Angela Macropoulos from Long Island.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Maggie Brooks claims she has presided over an era of bipartisanship in Monroe County and has run on the idea she could end partisan gridlock in Congress. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
x Claim: Maggie Brooks has a record of bipartisanship
✔ Fact: Maggie Brooks has presided over a viciously partisan era in Monroe County.
✔ Fact: Monroe County government is riddled with partisan gridlock. Maggie has signed only 1 Democratic bill from the County Legislature over the past 4 years. Brooks and her Republican allies have blocked the other 69 bills. It is not uncommon for a Democrat to introduce a bill in the Legislature, see Brooks block it or refuse to collaborate, and then reintroduce the same bill as her own without any Democratic sponsors. That is not the spirit of cooperation or bipartisanship.
✔ Fact: Republicans have presided in the most hyper-partisan and least productive Congressional session since the 1960s. If elected, Maggie has promised to collaborate closely with the architects of gridlock, Eric Cantor and John Boehner. Neither of them would be traveling to Monroe County and raising money for Maggie if they didn’t know they would own Maggie’s vote in Congress.
Canvassers are identifying Louise supporters, checking them off a list, and then telling people they are all set and do not have to vote.
✔ Your support does not equal a vote unless you cast an official ballot or official absentee ballot on Election Day.
GOP groups, masquerading as environmentalists, are calling voters lying about Louise’s record on hydrofracking.
✔ To clarify, Louise does not support the expansion of fracking without a guarantee it would not affect the safety and quality of our drinking water. Nor does she support Monroe County accepting fracking wastewater, something Maggie Brooks has refused to rule out.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
When we were elected President and Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME, we promised to make sure the union only endorsed candidates who support working families, regardless of their party. For us, it’s about right versus wrong, not left versus right.
That is why, after careful consideration of their records, AFSCME endorsed the re-election of President Obama and Vice President Biden for their consistent support of the middle class and working families. This team has a proven record of protecting our freedom and rights as workers and has taken strong steps to secure the future for us and our families.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan may say they will help the working class and not just the rich. But their policies would be—simply put—a disaster for public service employees.
Please take a moment and review their records below:
For working families in general, and public service workers in particular, the differences between the two candidates are great. Let us know what you think.
Are you ready to pledge to vote for President Obama
on Tuesday, November 6th?
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Rochester, N.Y. -- ATTENTION UNION VOTERS! Chances are, because of redistricting this year your polling location may have changed. Please go the Monroe County Board of Elections here to find out where to vote in this year's election.
You can also see if you are indeed registered, check your ballot, view party enrollment and get a list of elected officials that represent you.
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
|photo: Ove Overmyer|
Saturday, October 13th (9:30 a.m. at 229 Main St., 2nd Floor in the Van Parys Insurance Building in Palmyra *Enter on Fayette Street and park in the rear of the building*) Dan Maffei
Saturday, October 20th (10:00 a.m. at the Chemung Democratic Committee headquarters, 357 Davis Street in Elmira) Nate Shinigawa
Saturday, October 20th (9:00 a.m. at 120 Thurlow Ave. in Rochester) Louise Slaughter & Ted O'Brien
Friday, October 12th (12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at NYSUT, 30 North Union St. in Rochester
Monday, October 15th (12:00 to 6:00 p.m.) at NYSUT, 30 North Union St. in Rochester
Tuesday, October 16th (12:00 to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Wednesday, October 17th (12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Thursday, October 18th (12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Friday, October 19th (12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Monday, October 22nd (12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Tuesday, October 23rd (4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Wednesday, October 24th (4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Thursday, October 25th (4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Friday, October 26th (12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) at NYSUT
Our Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and NYS Senate candidate Ted O'Brien look forward to speaking with Labor and community friends on Monday, Oct. 15th for the Town Hall Forum at the Workers United Hall (750 East Ave. in Rochester) starting at 6:00 p.m.
Our Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and NYS Senate candidate Ted O'Brien look forward to speaking with Labor and community friends on Monday, Oct. 15th for the Town Hall Forum at the Workers United Hall (750 East Ave. in Rochester) starting at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Rochester, N.Y. -- Today, October 11, is National Coming Out Day – IT started in the late 1980's to raise up the lives of those who openly identified as LGBT and to give hope to people who hadn't yet come out of the closet.
Many CSEA and AFSCME workers have spent most of their adult careers working on LGBT issues and in environments where sexual orientation wasn't an issue at all. But many people don't have the privileges or freedoms in the workplace taken for granted by so many others. Despite the remarkable progress made by the LGBT community, there are still no clear protections for America's workers, meaning it's still risky for many to be out in the workplace.
That's why the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is so important to protect people in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA isn't about special rights – it would protect non-LGBT people as well – it's about leveling the playing field to ensure that applicants and employees are judged based on their qualifications and performance and not who they are, how they present themselves, or who they love.
On this National Coming Out Day, stand up for an America where everyone can be out at work without fear of losing their job because of who they are or whom they love –- and sign a petition to pass ENDA. If you are looking for resources or local information about equality issues in your workplace, contact your local chapter of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
CSEA MONROE COUNTY LEGISLATURE APPROVES UNIT 7400 COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT; RATIFY ONE YEAR DEAL
Rochester, N.Y. Democrat & Chronicle
Written By David Andreatta
Rochester, N.Y. -- Monroe County and the union that represents the largest proportion of its employees have agreed on a labor contract nearly four years after the last one expired.
The roughly 1,900 workers represented by the Civil Service Employees Association last week ratified the deal, which is short on raises but leaves retiree health benefits untouched and retains a health insurance program coveted by employees.
The contract was ratified by nearly a two-thirds majority, according to the union’s unit president. The County Legislature approved the pact on Tuesday.
Although the contract spans five years, from 2009 through 2013, its timing is such that it is effectively a short-term, one-year deal. The two sides are slated to begin negotiating again early next year.
The contract offers no retroactive wage increases for the years 2009 through 2011, but allows for a $250 bump in the 2012 salary schedule and a 2 percent raise in 2013. For a worker who had topped out on the salary scale in 2008 at $42,948, the new deal translates to a 2013 salary of $44,062.
In exchange, the union retains benefits for retirees and a health insurance plan. Although the union acknowledged that workers will pay between 4- and 8-percent more for insurance under the plan.
Sealing the deal temporarily ends a hostile chapter in county labor relations with the union. The last four years were marked by regular union protests outside the county office building and accusations of unfair bargaining practices.
But the county’s labor strife is not over. Hours before the legislature approved the CSEA pact, workers represented by the Federation of Social Workers picketed outside the county office building. FSW has also been without a contract since 2008.
Cris Zaffuto, president of the CSEA Unit 7400, predicted more acrimony at the bargaining table next year.
“I think that when we go back to the table, the county is going to want to rewrite history, which has to do with rewriting the whole contract,” Zaffuto said.
County Human Resources Director Brayton Connard called the pact a “responsible” and “fair” contract, and complimented the workforce.
He added, though, that the two sides are far apart on health insurance for retirees and that the item will be on the table again next year.
“We think the workforce understand that these agreements should be sustainable,” Connard said.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
|The first Presidential debate of 2012 was a cringe-fest that was poorly |
moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer. photo: MSNBC
Here are some observations on last night’s debate:
I was horrified on three fronts—the stunning platform tax reversal flip-flop (call it what you want) of Mitt Romney and his sheer arrogance made me recoil with physical pain. And two-- President Obama failed the progressive community last night—if anything he could have shown more passion for the issues he so deeply cares about. He missed several opportunities to nail Romney to a wall on his bold faced lies, and failed to do so. Thirdly, Jim Lehrer's time as the king of television era Presidential Debates has come and gone. He was ineffectual and let both candidates walk all over him. Furthermore, this debate illustrates that honesty and truth doesn't matter much when you are running for political office and an uninformed electorate superficially appreciates style over substance any day of the week— especially when you have so many low-information voters tuning in for the first time.
Here are a few of the Mitt Romney lies:
- Romney says he is not cutting taxes on the rich and he plainly plans to do so if elected. His top donors would not have it any other way (wink-wink).
- Romney claimed his tax plan doesn't raise taxes on the middle class and it does.
- Romney says Obama will raise taxes on the top 3% of small businesses and that is not true.
- Romney says oil subsidies go to “small” companies—which is laugh-out-loud funny.
- Romney told the big fat GOP tax lie that ending the Bush tax cuts will kill jobs.
Somewhere in the wonky blizzard of lies, facts, statistics and studies thrown out on stage was a fundamental philosophical choice about the future of America, quite possibly the starkest in nearly three decades. As President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off for the first time, their babbling snooze-fest may have disguised a fierce clash of views not only over taxes, spending and health care, but over the very role of government in American society.
On one side was an incumbent who, while recognizing that government is not the solution to all problems, argued that it plays an essential part in promoting economic growth and ensuring fairness for various segments of the population who have been traditionally marginalized. On the other was a challenger who, while not recognizing the basic value of government at all, argued that we should privatize everything under the sun and the best thing government can do is get out of the way of rich people and multi-national corporations so they can rule the free world.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
|CSEA Monroe County Local 828 members meet at the Rochester Satellite|
Office on Oct. 2, 2012 for a Health & Safety meeting. photo: Bess Watts
New library PAC to address library funding shortfalls and hold politicians accountable.
By Ove Overmyer
President, CSEA City of Rochester, N.Y. Library Workers Local 828 Unit 7420
Rochester, N.Y. -- Finally! Now we are getting somewhere. For far too long, libraries and library advocates have been too waifish in their attempt to deal with struggling local government budgets and the policy makers that think its ok to decimate our libraries and library systems. But now, thanks to a new national Political Action Committee (PAC) called EveryLibrary, the feeble advocacy efforts of the past just might become a distant memory.
Say hello to EveryLibrary—a newly formed PAC that will raise funds nationally and spend them on local library ballot initiatives like tax rates, bonds, and other referenda.
In the past, libraries have been able to ride out bad times and accept small reductions in services, collections, and hours. Justifiable so, many library administrators have wilted under the pressure of their local lawmakers telling them that they have no choice in how many public dollars are allocated for their libraries and library systems. Well, the time has come to say to them, “We beg to differ.”
The financial hit libraries have absorbed in the past few years has now become much too deep and is inflicting fatal wounds to needed library service around the country. EveryLibrary will offer effective strategies and resources to address library budget shortfalls and hold local politicians accountable.
New PAC not bound by IRS rules
This will be a nonpartisan organization, registered under section 501c4 of the U.S. Internal Revenue code. The plan is that it will also serve as a consulting organization for libraries on their political campaigns. Organizers hope it will ultimately back the purchase of space and time in the media to deliver the message to voters on the value of and need for all types of libraries and library systems.
EveryLibrary is not bound by the IRS rules against direct voter advocacy that have hamstrung the efforts of the American Library Association (ALA) and other organizations that maintain 501c3 status as “charitable organizations.” The IRS allows contributions to these groups to be deducted from federal taxes but forbids them from spending more than a small portion of their efforts or funds on campaigning. It also forbids 501c3 groups from doing any advocacy whatsoever for particular candidates.
EveryLibrary is currently engaged in an initial $50,000 fundraising round until November 7 to underwrite legal fees and create campaign toolkits, voter education materials, and messaging targeted to 2013 election initiatives.
John Chrastka, who is the primary thinker behind EveryLibrary, expects staff will be added to help with library activities. He says EveryLibrary’s charter and bylaws will be shared with the library community in October for comment and feedback.
Chrastka, president of the Board of Trustees of the Berwyn Public Library, IL, is a partner in AssociaDirect, a Chicago-based consultancy supporting associations in membership recruitment and conference and governance operations. He served as director for membership development at the American Library Association (ALA) until August 2011 and is chair of the Illinois Library Association Fundraising Committee. EveryLibrary is needed now more than ever.
Anti government and anti-tax forces like the Tea Party and Grover Norquist have beaten back library enterprises much more frequently in recent years. Consequently, Mayors of several major U.S. cities have targeted library budgets for reduction despite their tiny share of city taxes. Additionally, Governors from both major political parties have savaged state funding for public services.
While it is obvious that there is still massive public support for libraries, the current political climate is ideal to further the cause of those who see government as the problem and not the solution. The combination of the recent economic recession and anti-tax rhetoric is poisonous to all public agencies and institutions, and libraries are in the crosshairs. The creation of EveryLibrary can be seen as a direct, aggressive way to combat these toxic forces.
In the past, libraries have been able to ride out bad times and accept small reductions in services, collections, and hours. We library workers have often been told to do “more with less.” But now, we must scream from the rooftops that it is unacceptable to not properly fund libraries-- that “less really means less and not more.” We are here to say that library workers and administrators alike will no longer be pushed around in political circles.
In 2012, these pecuniary losses have now become much too deep and are inflicting real harm to necessary essential library services—especially right here in Rochester, N.Y. We wholeheartedly welcome EveryLibrary to the national stage— and we hope it offers a counterbalance to stem the tide of diminishing the true value libraries offer their local communities.
To donate to EveryLibrary, you can go here.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The results are in: MoveOn members in New York's 25th District voted overwhelmingly to endorse Louise Slaughter for the U.S. House.
Louise Slaughter's record of fighting for the middle class is undeniable. She has been a champion for the working people of her district for many years. She also takes on the fights that no one else will. For example, she passed legislation to stop insider trading among members of Congress.
An enthusiastic 97% of MoveOn members voting in the 25th District supported Louise. Cat C. from Rochester says, "She's been a fighter for the rights of women, minorities, veterans, and others whose voices often get shouted down by those in power." Jan W. from Webster added, "She speaks for the 99%. If she loses, we lose our voice."
When Louise heard about our endorsement, here is what she said:
"I am so excited to have earned the endorsement of MoveOn.org and its 7 million members. Our campaign is powered by a strong, grassroots movement and I welcome the support of MoveOn's many members who recognize my reputation as a straight shooter and a tough fighter for the middle class."
Louise's opponent is a tea party favorite who has the backing of big money Super PACs and now the race is neck and neck. That's why Louise needs MoveOn members to join his campaign and win this race at the grassroots level.
Join their office opening party and canvass this weekend at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 6, at 1150 University Avenue, Building 5 in Suite 140 in Rochester, N.Y.