CEOs Run Wild: AFL-CIO Launches Paywatch

Running out of yacht polish. Having to find a new butler. The dilemma of whether to vacation at your Vail or Hamptons estate. It must be hard to be a super-rich CEO.

Today, we’re adding something truly stressful to their list: the launch of our updated Paywatch website.

We’re exposing the outrageous pay and retirement packages of many of the richest CEOs and showing the absurd tax-dodging tactics their companies get away with, all while many of them push the rest of us to accept cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Let’s make this Tax Day the day CEOs fear. Go to www.Paywatch.org now to check out how corporations and their top executives are running amok, and spread the word to your friends.

Here’s a preview of one of the awesome graphics you’ll find on the site that you can share:

You know the story. While workers’ wages have stagnated, CEO pay has skyrocketed—and their greed has created the economic mess we’re only starting to get out of.

They’ve used their power at the corporations they run to ship millions of jobs overseas.

Now, they’re putting their immense wealth into efforts to get politicians to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits—through shady front groups like the Campaign to Fix the Debt and the Business Roundtable—and to keep the lavish tax loopholes for Wall Street and themselves and their rich buddies.

It’s pretty despicable.

This Tax Day, let’s expose the problem of CEOs gone wild and make sure everyone knows corporate greed is to blame for our economic crisis, not working families. Visit Paywatch now:

go.aflcio.org/Paywatch

This Week in Albany

Week ending April 12, 2013

CSEA Files Charges over Thruway and Canal Layoffs

CSEA has filed charges with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) against the state Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation charging the Cuomo administration with Taylor Law violations. The union charged Thruway management with acting in bad faith to coerce, intimidate and pressure rank and file union members.

“Instead of laying off workers who did nothing to deserve it, the administration should lay off its union busting tactics,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said.

Look Ahead

The Legislature returns to Albany on Monday after a two week break following the passage of the budget. Issues that are expected to be focused on for the remainder of session include campaign finance reform, ethics reform, casino gaming, and legalizing medical marijuana.

Additionally, CSEA is concerned with the minimum wage tax credit that was passed in the budget. The credit will be given to companies who hire 16-19 year olds and pay them exactly the minimum wage, even big box stores like Wal-Mart. The credit will adversely impact women and seniors as businesses look to take advantage of the incentive to hire young people at a lower wage. The program is flawed and should be reevaluated.

President Obama’s Budget Proposal

This week President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget. The budget is designed as an attempt to bridge the partisan divide and to replace the sequester cuts for future years. The sequester cuts would be replaced with a mix of tax increases on the wealthy, increases in Medicare premiums for some, cuts in the Social Security COLA, and a $200 billion cut in discretionary spending divided between defense and nondefense. The discretionary spending cuts would not take place until 2017 in order to allow the economy to recover.

CSEA will be working closely with AFSCME to ensure that the enacted budget is not balanced on the backs of working New Yorkers, preserves the retiree safety net, maintains affordable health care for seniors, and enhances funding for state and local governments.

Click here for a more detailed summary of the President’s proposed budget.

This Week in Albany

Week ending April 12, 2013

Headlines include:

  • CSEA Files Charges over Thruway and Canal Layoffs
  • Look Ahead
  • President Obama’s Budget Proposal

Continue reading…


CSEA Analysis of President Obama’s Budget Proposal

This week President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget. The budget is designed as an attempt to bridge the partisan divide and to replace the sequester cuts for future years. The sequester cuts would be replaced with a mix of tax increases on the wealthy, increases in Medicare premiums for some, cuts in the Social Security COLA, and a $200 billion cut in discretionary spending divided between defense and nondefense. The discretionary spending cuts would not take place until 2017 in order to allow the economy to recover.

We are still reviewing the proposal but here are the major issues reviewed so far.

Medicare

The President’s proposal would save Medicare $371 billion over 10 years.

  • No Eligibility Changes – The President’s plan does not increase the eligibility age for Medicare.
  • Part B Deductible Increase – The budget would increase the Medicare part B deductible for new beneficiaries in 2017 by $75 over 6 years. This shifts $3.3 billion in costs over ten years to beneficiaries of all income levels.
  • Reducing Hospital and nursing home bad debt reimbursement – Medicare pays 65% of the bad debts from beneficiaries’ non-payment of deductibles and co-payments. The budget proposes to reduce the bad debt payments to 25%, with cuts $25.2 billion in payments to hospitals and nursing home s over 10 years. This will directly hurt our public nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Cut to Graduate Medical Education Payments to teaching hospitals – $11 billion in changes in payments to teaching hospitals over 10 years.

Social Security

The President’s proposal alters how cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA) are calculated for current and future Social Security recipients. His proposal would shift to a formula called a ‘Chained-CPI.’ While the explanation of the change can be complex, the bottom line is that this change will result in long-term benefit cuts for Social Security recipients. For example, the average 65-year-old retiree would see a $130 benefit cut annually when compared to the current COLA calculation. This proposal severely compromises the retiree safety net at a time when the availability of defined benefit pensions is decreasing.

Deficit Reduction

The budget would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion with $600 billion in new revenues and $1.2 trillion from program and entitlement cuts.

Revenues

The $600 billion in new revenues includes imposing a 28% cap on itemized deductions and exclusions, implementing the Buffett rule which requires that households with incomes over $1 million pay at least 30% of income (after charitable giving) in taxes, and imposing a “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee” on financial firms with assets exceeding $50 billion.

Infrastructure Investments

The budget provides $76.6 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending for the Department of Transportation. This includes a $50 billion infrastructure investment for addressing maintenance of highways, bridges, transit systems, and airports. Included in that $50 billion is $27 billion for highway repair and construction and $2.5 billion for transit programs.

Education

The budget proposes a $75 billion investment, funded through a tobacco tax, which will provide states with funds to provide all four-year-olds from low and moderate income households with access to pre-K in public school and community-based settings. This initiative is also partnered with an expansion in high quality infant and toddler care through Early Head Start and funds for Child Care which together totals $1.6 billion.

The pre-K program would be available to all 4-year olds whose families are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). In addition, incentives would be made to states to offer pre-K to children in families exceeding the income threshold.

The budget also increases Title I and IDEA by 5.5% and the Pell Grant program and proposes to keep interest rates affordable for college loans. Head Start is proposed to receive $9.6 billion, an 8% increase, with $1.4 billion for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership, and $200 million for a COLA increase. There is a $500 million increase for CCDBG.

CSEA will be working closely with AFSCME to ensure that the enacted budget is not balanced on the backs of working New Yorkers, preserves the retiree safety net, maintains affordable health care for seniors, and enhances funding for state and local governments.

Help our Vets Committee support our troops!

 

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Just upgraded to a new cell phone? Have an old broken phone collecting dust?

Don’t throw that old phone away!

Our Region Veterans Committee has been partnering with Cell Phones For Soldiers to sponsor a drive to recycle used cell phones so our troops overseas can call home. To date, our Region has collected more than 800 phones in our drive.

Please bring your old cell phones, with or without accessories, to any one of our CSEA Offices in Binghamton, Canton or East Syracuse, or give to your Local or Unit President to deliver to one of our offices at their convenience. Cell Phones For Soldiers will recycle them and use the money to purchase calling cards for the troops to call home.

On behalf of Region President Colleen Wheaton and our Region Veterans Committee, Ron Witt, Chair, thanks for your generous support!

Download a poster about our cell phone donation program to post on your union bulletin board!

Union responds to firing of Canal workers

 

HeyGovernorGovernor Cuomo has now fired more more than three dozen dedicated Canal Corp. workers, because he couldn’t get what he wanted at the bargaining table.

CSEA has filed an Improper Practice Charge against the State for illegally threatening layoffs as a negotiating tactic.

“It is unfortunate that the Cuomo Administration continues to resort to intimidation, threats and bullying to get what it wants at the expense of Thruway and Canal operations,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “The administration doesn’t seem to care that it is hurting people and communities across this state.”

Meanwhile, CSEA is continuing a coalition effort to oppose the cuts which will reportedly cut Canal operating hours by 5 hours a day, and will mean less tourism money to businesses and communities along the Canal corridor.

Please join us in calling the Governor’s Office at (518) 474-8390 and demanding that he reinstate the Canal workers he fired!

Download a flyer about the harmful effect of the Governor’s cuts.

 


 

Safe Jobs Save Lives: Join the Capital District Area Labor Federation to honor fallen workers

2013 CDALF WMD Flier

Join the Capital District Area Labor Federation for a Workers Memorial Day observance Sunday, April 28, to honor and remember fallen and injured workers from the Capital Region. The ceremony will include messages from labor and faith leaders, as well as a reading of names of the families who have lost loved ones on the job.

The observance will be held on:
Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m.
Steinmetz Family Investment Center
120 Emmons Street, Schenectady, NY 12305.

For more information or to RSVP, email coordinator@cdalf.org

Download a flier

Join us in observing Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

 

WorkZoneSafetyPoster2013 This week, April 15-19, CSEA joins the US Department of Transportation in observing National Work Zone Awareness Week.

In recognition, CSEA Region 5 has a handful of free posters, shown here, to distribute to whomever makes a request, while supplies last.

To get your poster, call Communications Specialist Mark Kotzin at (800) 559-7975.

And remember, our union brothers and sisters put their lives on the line every day, setting up work zones throughout our state and nation. When driving through a work zone, slow down and Don’t Zone Out!

Read the CSEA News Release about Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

More on CSEA’s Don’t Zone Out campaign

DOT Work Zone Awareness Week resources

NYS DOT interactive driver safety site

 


VOICE/CSEA activists, other advocates key to Suffolk County’s increasing of child care subsidies

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Long Island Region President Nick LaMorte speaks at a news conference in Hauppauge Monday, April 8, about CSEA’s strong support and advocacy for raising the subsidy rates in Suffolk County.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, joined by VOICE/CSEA activists, Long Island Region President Nick LaMorte, parents, children and other child care advocates, announced at a news conference in Hauppauge today that Suffolk County will increase its child care subsidy from 100 percent to 125 percent of the State Income Standard (SIS).

Bellone especially credited labor advocates for their activism on this issues. Currently, Suffolk County provides subsidies that assist 3,626 children. This increase will allow 700 more children to be served and ease the burden of families.

Suffolk County placed $3.5 million in county dollars into its budget for this purpose. County officials noted that children and families are a strong priority and that they will try to increase the subsidies as they can in the future.

“I applaud County Executive Bellone and his team for securing county funding for child care subsidies for working families in Suffolk County,” LaMorte said. “This is a good start and a great example of how – working together – our union and local government found a way to begin to address the issue here in Suffolk, what is a crisis in counties across the state.”

Newsday, News 12 and Noticias were among the media that covered the announcement.

Read the county’s news release

CSEA women urged to use their power at Women’s Conference

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CSEA President Danny Donohue, front row, center, poses with CSEA Women’s Committee members and first-time conference attendees.

Hundreds of CSEA officers, activists and members from across the state attended the union’s Women’s Conference in Rye Brook Friday, April 5, to Sunday, April 7. The conference theme was “CSEA Women Have the Power – Use it or Lose it!” In accordance with that theme, the conference focused helping CSEA women – and men – develop their union leadership and other skills to better fight back against attacks on workers.

Conference highlights included a roundtable discussion on leadership and a discussion of the governor’s agenda for women, and the presentation of the Irene Carr Leadership Award to former Chautauqua County Local President and present Western Region Retiree activist Rose Conti.

Throughout her career with Chautauqua County Adult and Children Services – as well as in CSEA – Conti, a former CSEA Statewide Women’s Committee member, strongly impacted many lives and served as a mentor to newer union activists. She has worked tirelessly to promote work and family issues, including advocating marriage equality, improving child care access, fighting to prevent domestic violence and working to end workplace bullying.

The conference also included many workshops designed to build attendees’ union leadership skills and knowledge, as well as help members to balance

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Former Chautauqua County Local President and now CSEA Western Region Retiree activist Rose Conti, center, poses with CSEA President Danny Donohue, left, and CSEA Western Region President Flo Tripi, right, after being presented with the 2013 Irene Carr Leadership Award.

demands in their professional and personal lives.

Visit CSEA’s Facebook page to see photo galleries of the conference.