This Week in Albany

Week ending August 30, 2013

DiNapoli Announces Decrease in Pension Contribution Rates

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that employer contribution rates for the New York State and Local Retirement System will decline in Fiscal Year 2014-15. The average contribution rate for the Employee Retirement System (ERS) will decrease by 0.8 percent of payroll, from 20.9 percent to 20.1 percent. The average contribution rate for the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) will decrease by 1.3 percent of payroll, from 28.9 percent to 27.6 percent.

The Comptroller said, “The New York State Common Retirement Fund’s strong gains over the last four years have mitigated some of the impact of the financial market collapse of 2008-2009. Strong investment performance, along with a revision in actuarial smoothing, has lowered the employer contribution rate for 2014-15.”

Cuomo Wants to Give Tax Cuts Rather than Create Middle-Class Jobs in Communities

Despite the fact that our communities are continuing to lose good middle-class jobs and the State is expected to have a budget deficit of $1.7 billion, Governor Cuomo said that he will push for a tax cut next year that will likely benefit the wealthiest New Yorkers the most. The Governor has not indicated how this tax cut will be paid for. However, there is a fear that it will be paid for by additional losses of good jobs in communities throughout our State.

Cheryl Palmer, CSEA PEOPLE Coordinator, Retires

After 30 years of tireless work, CSEA’s PEOPLE Coordinator Cheryl Palmer has retired. Her passion for working to ensure that public employees had a voice at all levels of government will be missed.
Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

This Week in Albany

Week ending August 30, 2013

Headlines include:

  • DiNapoli Announces Decrease in Pension Contribution Rates
  • Cuomo Wants to Give Tax Cuts Rather than Create Middle-Class Jobs in Communities
  • Cheryl Palmer Retires
  • Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend

Continue reading…


Join Labor for Liu!

 

Join your union brothers and sisters this coming Tuesday, Sept. 3rd for a spirited rally for our endorsed candidate for New York City Mayor John Liu! Print and share flyer here.

Liu Endorse

 


 

Join Rally for John Liu!

 

Rally for John Liu Flyer updated

CSEA Retirees hold 2013 Retiree Delegates Meeting

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The new CSEA Retiree Executive Committee officers. From left, Retiree Executive Committee Chair Judy Richards, Vice Chair Charlotte Adkins and Secretary Grace Eglin.

CSEA Retiree Division delegates recently met for the union’s annual Retiree Delegates Meeting in Albany.

Delegates elected new Retiree Executive Committee officers: Judy Richards, president of Capital District Retiree Local 999, was elected the Retiree Executive Committee Chair; Charlotte Adkins, president of Syracuse Area Retiree Local 913, was elected the committee’s vice chair and Grace Eglin, president of Fulton-Montgomery Area Retiree Local 925, was elected committee secretary.

Other meeting highlights included an address by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, sessions on the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, state and federal policies for retired and working people, moving and meditation and the general business session.

Visit CSEA’s Facebook page to see photos from the meeting, or click on the following links:
CSEA Retiree Delegates Meeting: Aug. 26
CSEA Retiree Delegates Meeting: Aug. 27
CSEA Retiree Delegates Meeting: Aug. 28

2014 Senate Elections

While more than a year away, the 2014 U.S. Senate elections will prove critical in what direction the country goes for years to come.

The following maps have been created for your use in educating yourself and other members regarding the importance of these elections.

Continue reading…

Comptroller DiNapoli Announces Lower Pension Rates for 2014-2015

 

Tom DiNapoli, NYS Comptroller

Tom DiNapoli, NYS Comptroller

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that employer contribution rates for the New York State Common Retirement Fund will decline slightly in Fiscal Year 2014-15. Rates for the state and local government employee retirement system will decrease by .8% and contributions to the police and fire retirement system will decrease by 1.3%.

“The New York State Common Retirement Fund’s strong gains over the last four years have mitigated some of the impact of the financial market collapse of 2008-2009. Strong investment performance, along with a revision in actuarial smoothing, has lowered the employer contribution rate for 2014-15.”


Urge Gov. Cuomo to support a sweatfree NY

Written by Larisa Karr of Syracuse, NY
Submitted by the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State

“I am still injured. I still feel the pain from being hit on the head and the left side of my body is virtually paralyzed,” the 30-year-old said, leaning on her father for support as she limped around the tangle of concrete (The Daily Tribune).  Shahnaj Begum was fortunate to survive the collapse of the Rana Plaza building on April 24.  Located about 24 miles from the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, Rana Plaza comprised six garment factories who produced clothing for companies like the United Colors of Benetton and Primark, a UK retailer.  Factory managers had forced workers to enter Rana Plaza even after a giant crack appeared on the building.  Hours later the factory collapsed, killing over 1200 workers.

This incident is part of a recurring nightmare that will not relent until meaningful action is taken. It highlights the dire need for New York State to adopt a Sweatfree Purchasing Code of Conduct that includes safety measures.

A major garment purchaser, New York State spends $43 million a year on apparel including public uniforms. Before the collapse in Bangladesh, Governor Cuomo emphasized the importance of efforts “to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not provided to entities that operate sweatshops.” Acknowledgement of the problem is imperative, and now we need to take action.

Currently the global economy favors countries with the lowest wages and weakest workplaces safety laws.  “Subsidizing Sweatshops II”, a report put out by International Labor Rights Forum’s Sweatfree Communities, reported dangerous conditions in factories supplying New York State apparel, including smoke and foul smells causing blurry vision and respiration problems, workers using dangerous substances such as Resistol glue and accidents that caused the loss of fingers.

My grandmother, an immigrant from Ukraine, worked in a North Carolina factory making parachutes for the military at Mills Manufacturing Corporation. When the health inspectors came to observe the working conditions in the factory, the managers urged the workers to hide the chemicals they were working with under the tables.  Within a year, she realized she wasn’t feeling well. Her hair started falling out, her energy dropped and she had a sheet-like pallor. She was diagnosed with kidney cancer and died shortly thereafter.  The tragedy of her experience reminds me of why it is important for all workers to have safe working conditions.

As the granddaughter of an apparel worker, I urge Gov. Cuomo to implement a Sweatfree Purchasing Code of Conduct that requires factories supplying New York State apparel to respect workers’ rights. State law requires the government to buy its apparel from the lowest responsible bidder. Yet, current standards for responsible bidders are insufficient.  Through the Code of Conduct, the Governor would create meaningful standards for responsible bidders. The policy would ensure public dollars support the improvement of conditions in its factories rather than subsidizing oppressive and lethal working conditions.

As taxpayers, we need to hold our government accountable so that public purchasing power is used to support fair wages and humane conditions. We can do that by urging Gov. Cuomo to implement a Sweatfree Code of Conduct.  With the deaths at Rana Plaza fresh in our mind, the time has come for New Yorkers to declare that these deadly conditions are not moral. Workers should not have to die for government-made apparel or for any apparel.

Sign the petition urging Gov. Cuomo to implement a Sweatfree Code of Conduct, please visit the website www.labor-religion.org/sign-the-petition.

 

This Week in Albany

Week ending August 23, 2013

Headlines include:

  • Comptroller DiNapoli Announces First Quarter Pension Fund Performance
  • Legislative Update
  • President Obama Visits New York
  • Homeowners Must Register for Basic STAR Program
  • Regional Centers of Excellence Petitions

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending August 23, 2013

Comptroller DiNapoli Announces First Quarter Pension Fund Performance

Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund has an estimated value of $158.7 billion after posting a positive rate of return during the first quarter.

Quarterly reports on the Fund’s performance were instituted as part of a series of acts to increase transparency by Comptroller DiNapoli in 2009. Prior to that, results were released on an annual basis only.

Legislative Update

There was little legislative action by the Governor this week. Multiple county sales tax bills were signed into law but there are still 301 bills outstanding, including many of CSEA’s priority bills.

President Obama Visits New York

President Obama traveled through upstate and western New York this week, making stops in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Binghamton. The focus of the President’s visit was his plans to lower the cost of a college education.

Homeowners Must Register for Basic STAR Program

A provision in the 2013-14 state Budget requires homeowners to register with the Department of Taxation and Finance in order to continue receiving the Basic STAR school district tax exemption in 2014 and beyond. Homeowners have until December 31, 2013 to register, and will only be required to register once, not yearly.

For more information, visit www.tax.ny.gov.

Regional Centers of Excellence Petitions

Please visit CSEA’s website to view and sign petitions calling on Governor Cuomo to keep State mental health services available. We have added petitions for Buffalo Psychiatric Center and Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center to the list of petitions available to sign.