This Week in Albany

Week ending February 23, 2018

Janus v AFSCME

On Monday, February 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Janus vs AFSCME case. This case is nothing more than an attempt to limit the voice of working men and women across the country.

In the lead-up to the case being heard, CSEA members and activists are invited to participate in a number of activities to show that union members will fight back against attempts to divide working people and limit the power of workers, their families, and their communities.

On Saturday, February 24th, hundreds of CSEA members will participate in a “Working People’s Day of Action” in New York City and in Buffalo. Similar rallies will be held in 28 other cities across the country. On Monday, hundreds more CSEA members will participate in a rally at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

In the face of these blatant attacks on the rights of working people, CSEA members will NEVER QUIT.


At a Glance

The state Senate and Assembly will return to Albany next week after a week away in their home districts. The legislature will be in session for two days, and will hold the final joint legislative hearing on the 2018-19 Executive Budget on the topic of environmental conservation.

Each house of the legislature is expected to release its “one house” version of the budget during the week of March 12th. In these proposals, each house will put forward what their ideal version of a budget would look like. From there, the legislature will work with the Governor to find an agreement on a final budget before the April 1 deadline.

Elections

Governor Cuomo has called for a Special Election on April 24th to fill the 11 vacant seats in the state legislature. While there are nine vacant Assembly seats and two vacant Senate seats, the race for the 37th Senate District will likely be the most-watched race.

In that race, Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers) will face off against Julie Killian (R-Rye) to fill the seat vacated by Westchester County Executive George Latimer (D). This seat may be crucial to which party controls the Senate. While Republicans currently hold a narrow majority, a deal announced earlier this year calls for “reuniting” the Democratic conference with the Independent Democratic Conference if Democrats win both Special Elections in the Senate.

CSEA has not yet started the endorsement process in these races. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Additionally, village elections will be held across the state on March 20th.


Never Quit Fact of the Week

According to U.S. Census Bureau Data poverty rates in “Right-to-Work” states are 15.3 percent overall (and 21.4 percent for children). In other states, poverty rates total 12.8 percent overall (and 18 percent for children).

This Week in Albany

Week ending February 16, 2018

State Budget Update

Amendments to the Executive Budget proposal were released late on Thursday night. We are currently reviewing all of the Governor’s amendments to determine their impact on CSEA members. For more information on these proposals, as well as CSEA’s legislative memos and budget flyers, please visit our website.

Among several new proposals are proposals to address federal tax reform.

The first proposal would create state, local government, and school district charitable funds to encourage taxpayer donations for purposes like education and health care. These contributions would be deductible at the federal level, and would receive favorable state and local tax treatment.

The second proposal would establish an optional payroll tax system where employers could decide to shift to an employer-paid payroll tax for employees earning over $40,000 per year. It remains unclear how likely this proposal is to be included in a final budget, or how it would function in practice.

The amendments would also “decouple” state tax code from several provisions of the new federal law to prevent large increases in taxes.

Additionally, the amendments propose a new disciplinary procedure for employees of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision outside of procedures that have been collectively bargained. CSEA has major concerns with this proposal.

Pension Fund Reaches New Record

Comptroller DiNapoli announced this week that the New York State Common Retirement Fund reached an estimated value of $209.1 billion as of December 31, a new record. That balance was up 8.7% over the value of the Fund at the start of the 2017-18 Fiscal Year on April 1.

Under the leadership of Comptroller DiNapoli, New York continues to have one of the best managed and best funded pension plans in the country.

Federal Update

President Trump released his long-awaited infrastructure plan this week. While the document released by the White House is still only a broad outline, there are several areas of potential concern for CSEA members.

The White House has often referred to the President’s infrastructure plan as a $1 trillion or even a $1.5 trillion plan. In reality, the President’s proposal includes only $200 billion of federal funds. In theory, that money would be used to raise money from state and local governments and private investors to complete infrastructure projects.

As part of the proposed efforts to encourage private investment, the President’s plan calls for a broad expansion of public-private-partnerships for all types of infrastructure projects. Public-private-partnerships (commonly referred to as P3s) typically involve a private entity financing the construction of a project, and then operating, maintaining, and collecting any tolls from the public asset. An expansion of P3 authority is of serious concern to CSEA as it would allow for the outsourcing of many public infrastructure assets and the maintenance and operations jobs that support them.

It is not clear if or when the President’s plan will move forward in Congress.

At a Glance

The state legislature will spend next week in their home districts before returning to Albany on February 27th. The state budget is due by April 1.

Never Quit Fact of the Week

The risk of workplace death is 49% higher in “Right-to-Work” states than in non-“Right-to-Work” states like New York, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

CSEA’s Memos on the 2018 NYS Budget Proposal

Here are PDF versions of CSEA’s memos on the 2018 New York State Budget Proposal.

Opposition to reduction of 400 Office of Mental Health Inpatient Beds:

OMH Budget Memo

Opposition to the closure of Ella McQueen:

Ella McQueen Budget Memo

Opposition to Medicare Part B Cap and IRMAA:

Medicare Budget Memo

Opposition to expansion of Design-Build:

Design-Build Oppose Memo

Opposition to Division of Budget “Superpowers”:

DOB Superpowers Budget Memo

Opposition to permanent shared service panel reporting:

Shared Services Budget Memo

Opposition to the elimination of the SUNY Hospital operating subsudy:

SUNY Subsidy Budget Memo

Labor Relations Specialists

CSEA is seeking resumes for Labor Relations Specialists at locations throughout New York State. Responsibilities include working with union activists to engage members at their worksites and in their communities and negotiating /administering collective bargaining agreements. Operate independently & schedule workload. Salary $58,212 and excellent benefits. Drivers license/car for business use. High School/Equivalency & 3 years full time related experience or BA in related field or acceptable combination of work experience and education.

Email cover letter and resume to cseajobs@cseainc.org or send to:
Director  of Human Resources
PO Box 7125, Capitol Station
Albany, NY 12224

Equal Opportunity Employer

CSEA Poughkeepsie security guards sacrifice for Poughkeepsie students

Workers to staff remaining home games so basketball players don’t miss outCSEA_PoughkeepsieSecurityGuards_2.13.18

 POUGHKEEPSIE – While Poughkeepsie City School District officials have stalled on paying CSEA-represented security guards wages they are owed from working at district basketball games held earlier this season, our union members have generously agreed to work remaining home games without a guarantee as to when they’ll be compensated so Poughkeepsie students and community members don’t miss out on Section 1 playoffs.

“Our members are doing this because they care about these kids,” said CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo. “This has been an incredible year for Poughkeepsie’s basketball teams and our members don’t want the ineptitude of certain district officials to hurt the teams’ chances of state championships. Our CSEA members here in the Poughkeepsie City School District are making this sacrifice because their hearts are with the students.”

Each year, CSEA members employed as district security guards supervise home basketball games. Wages for working those games has been paid to employees in their regular paychecks, not at the end of the end of the basketball season. Despite a district official’s comment to local media stating that CSEA had agreed for security guards to receive payment in full at the end of the season, there has been no such agreement.

While the security guards have volunteered to work at the remaining basketball games, CSEA will be proceeding with a complaint on our members’ behalf to the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

“What has happened here is clear wage theft,” Riccaldo said. “Many of our security guards have not been paid for their work at basketball games since the end of November. These are people who, just like the rest of us, have bills to pay and families to support. Even if the district failed in properly handling security assignments, our members are still owed the money they earned. Any district official who continues to refuse to pay our members the wages they are owed should be held accountable.”

CSEA is negotiating an agreement with the district for future work at athletic events and demanding that members be paid all wages owed to them.

“This injustice is a reminder of why belonging to the union is so important,” said CSEA Dutchess Education Local President Scott Rajczi. “Being part of a union gives workers the freedom to speak up on the job, which is what our members have done so courageously. They should be proud of themselves for doing the right thing for the students even when the district has failed to do the same. Our CSEA members aren’t just the backbone of the Poughkeepsie schools, they’re also the heart.”

 

This Week in Albany

Week ending February 9, 2018


Federal Update

Congress has reached an agreement to fund the federal government for two years. The agreement will raise caps on military and domestic spending by $296 billion through 2019 and increase the debt limit through March 1, 2019.

Regarding healthcare, the bill delays cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments until 2020, extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years (on top of the recent six-year extension), reauthorizes Community Health Centers for two years, and repeals an independent medical advisory board established under the Affordable Care Act to control Medicare spending.

Other provisions in the deal include $90 billion in disaster relief, $20 billion for infrastructure projects, $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis, $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant program, $4 billion for the Veterans Administration for veterans’ hospitals and clinics, and the creation of a committee to study the solvency of multi-employer pension plans like the Teamsters plans that have been forced to slash benefits recently.

CSEA is continuing to review the spending agreement and will provide updates as needed.


At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for two days next week, and will hold budget hearings on health, Medicaid, and mental hygiene. Legislators will then spend a week in their districts and return to Albany on February 27. The budget hearing on environmental conservation that was scheduled for this past Wednesday was rescheduled to February 27 due to the weather and will be the final joint legislative budget hearing of the year.

Amendments to the Executive Budget proposal are expected to be released by the end of next week. Governor Cuomo has indicated that these amendments will include proposals to address federal tax reform legislation, possibly including a proposal to shift the tax burden from an income tax to a payroll tax. Stay tuned for more details on these proposals when they become available.


Never Quit Fact of the Week

The average worker in a “Right to Work” state makes $6,109 less per year than a worker in a free bargaining state like New York.

Spring Conference materials available

Registration materials are now available for the Southern Region Spring Conference, scheduled to be held April 13-15, 2018 at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY. Click here to download and print materials.

This conference is another opportunity for CSEA officers to complete required training. President and Vice President Training, Secretary Training, and Treasurer Training will all be offered.

We’ll also have some new workshops with timely topics, including Garage Hazards, Negotiations Training, and Getting Organized to Fight Back in a Post-Janus World.

If you plan to attend, please enroll ASAP as this conference is expected to fill to capacity.

CSEA Leaders: new Facebook guidelines available

 

FacebookGuidlinesArt

 

CSEA leaders looking to establish or freshen-up your online presence on Facebook have a newly-updated resource at your disposal.

Our CSEA Facebook Guidelines has been completely updated by Communications Specialist Mark Kotzin to make it even easier to get your Facebook page up and running.

Download a PDF of our new Facebook Guidelines.

 

 

Day of Action

CSEA is gathering in solidarity with our AFSCME family in New York City on February 24 to push back against the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court Case, which threatens to strip Americans of our freedom to come together and build power for workers.
CSEA will be providing a bus to the rally, it will be leaving from Long Island Region headquarters in Commack at 8:30am. There will be another pickup spot in the Sears parking lot in Hicksville, located at 195 N. Broadway, leaving at 9am. The bus will be leaving from both locations on time. Seating priority will go to CSEA members and CSEA retirees. Call Sue Castle at 631-462-0030 to reserve your seat.

Feb 24 Day of Action[2]

This Week in Albany

Week ending February 2, 2018


Budget Updates

You can learn more about the Executive Budget proposal and its impact on CSEA members on our website. There you will find a copy of CSEA’s budget testimony, a video of the testimony at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Workforce Development, and a video discussion of the budget proposal with CSEA’s region Political Action committees. This website will be updated with more materials and information as they become available.

 

Special Elections

Governor Cuomo is expected to call a Special Election for the 11 vacant state legislative seats for April 24. There are nine vacancies in the State Assembly and two vacancies in the State Senate.

The April 24 date would set the elections for after the state budget is finalized, potentially important because of what these elections could mean for control of the state legislature.

Democrats and the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) in the senate have said that they will work to take over control of that chamber if Democrats win both Special Elections. However, it remains unclear how likely this “reunification” is before the end of the legislative session.


Federal Update

President Trump gave his first “State of the Union” address this week. The President’s speech largely focused on his first year in office, rather than laying out a policy agenda for 2018. The President did raise the idea of a new $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, but details on what this proposal would actually look like were not made available.

In the short term, Congressional leaders will be focused on negotiating a spending bill, as funding for the federal government expires at midnight on February 8th. Immigration reform and border security remain two of the largest areas of disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on the Hill.


At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for two days next week. The legislature will also hold budget hearings on the topics of local governments, human services, environmental conservation, and taxes.

The 21-day amendments to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal are expected to be released next week. These amendments are usually only technical in nature. Additional policy proposals, like a potential proposal to address federal tax reform, could be added when 30-day amendments are made on February 15.