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Feb 20 2015 After years of avoiding confrontation, the U.S. labor movement is reasserting itself. From the ports of Los Angeles to the car plants of Detroit, unions are demanding payback for sacrifices they say helped revive the economy. “Employers seem to think that they can push unions, the roots of the American working class, off a cliff,” said Dave Campbell, whose union local represents oil-terminal workers at the Port of Long Beach. “Well, these corporations have made a significant miscalculation in our ability to fight back. There’s a lot of labor strife now, and they could have a major confrontation on their hands.” Campbell’s combative rhetoric evokes an era when unions had the clout to win significant lifestyle upgrades for their members. Wielding the threat of strikes and work slowdowns, organized labor helped generations of Americans join the middle class and stay there.
Feb 19 2015 Guess Who’s Turning 40 – Our Weingarten Rights Did you know that the boss cannot question you without your union representative present? It’s your right as a union member! But, you have to ask for one, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Forty years ago, on Feb. 19, 1975, in a case called National Labor Relations Board vs. J. Weingarten, the high court ruled that an employee has the right to request union representation in any meeting that she or he feels could result in discipline or termination. The employer must suspend the meeting until a representative arrives or end the meeting all together.
Feb 19 2015 NYTimes Op Ed: The Cost of a Decline in Unions More broadly, I disdained unions as bringing corruption, nepotism and rigid work rules to the labor market, impeding the economic growth that ultimately makes a country strong. I was wrong. The abuses are real. But, as unions wane in American life, it’s also increasingly clear that they were doing a lot of good in sustaining middle class life — especially the private-sector unions that are now dwindling. Most studies suggest that about one-fifth of the increase in economic inequality in America among men in recent decades is the result of the decline in unions. It may be more: A study in the American Sociological Review, using the broadest methodology, estimates that the decline of unions may account for one-third of the rise of inequality among men.
Feb 13 2015 Cablevision and Labor Union Make Peace After Three Years Cablevision and the Communications Workers of America have announced a collective bargaining agreement, marking a breakthrough in of the city's longest-running labor disputes. It's the first contract for Cablevision's more than 250 Brooklyn technical workers, three years after they voted to form a labor union. "You know we've been at this for 37 months in a battle to get a contract here. And this union looks forward to opening a new chapter in its relationship with Cablevision," said Chris Shelton, vice president for CWA District One. Cablevision's struggle with the CWA had become a hot political issue, with the mayor and many city council members voicing sharp criticism of the company over its treatment of workers.
Feb 11 2015 Smoking’s Toll on Health Is Even Worse Than Previously Thought A new study adds at least five diseases and 60,000 deaths a year to the toll taken by tobacco in the United States. Before the study, smoking was already blamed for nearly half a million deaths a year in this country from 21 diseases, including 12 types of cancer. Audio report
Feb 9 2015 Cuomo, Lowey announce deal to free Westchester housing grants About $5 million in grants that had previously been tied up in Westchester County’s housing battle with the federal government will soon be made available through the state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rep. Nita Lowey on Monday announced a deal to route the federal funding through the state and make it available to Westchester local governments and non-profit groups that had been eligible to receive the grants.
Jan 29 2015 Senator Gillibrand's Plan to Fix Parental Leave Audio Report Unlike many other countries, the U.S. has no laws requiring paid maternity or parental leave. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is trying to change that with the Family Act, which she introduced in 2013. She discusses the particulars of the bill and why it has languished in Congress.
Jan 2015 DiNapoli Releases December State Cash Report NYS is Flush with Money right now State tax collections of just under $8 billion were $474.2 million higher than expected in December and $716.4 million higher than projected three quarters of the way through the state’s fiscal year, according to the December cash report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The state has also collected $4.2 billion from financial settlements since April, approximately $3.9 billion more than initially anticipated, with another $1.3 billion expected. "Strong tax collections in December added to a positive short-term picture for the state’s budget, ”DiNapoli said. “However, revenue that is higher than anticipated today does not always mean flush times tomorrow. We will monitor economic and revenue developments closely as negotiations on a new state budget begin in coming weeks.”
Jan 25 2015 Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up The middle class that President Obama identified in his State of the Union speech last week as the foundation of the American economy has been shrinking for almost half a century. In the late 1960s, more than half of the households in the United States were squarely in the middle, earning, in today’s dollars, $35,000 to $100,000 a year. Few people noticed or cared as the size of that group began to fall, because the shift was primarily caused by more Americans climbing the economic ladder into upper-income brackets. But since 2000, the middle-class share of households has continued to narrow, the main reason being that more people have fallen to the bottom. At the same time, fewer of those in this group fit the traditional image of a married couple with children at home, a gap increasingly filled by the elderly.
Jan 21 2015 Maloney, Slaughter gear up for Congress battle over TPP trade authority Democratic Reps.Sean Maloney and Louise Slaughter are gearing up to do legislative battle against President Barack Obama over international trade. The two New Yorkers joined several Democratic House colleagues today in announcing they have enough votes to block legislation to provide “fast”-track” approval of trade pacts. The fast-track process, also known as trade promotion authority, would mean Congress could only approve or reject trade deals signed by the president, but couldn’t amend them. Maloney challenged Obama to visit the Hudson Valley cities he represents, such as Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Middletown and Port Jervis. “Walk over the broken sidewalks and past the shuttered houses down to the boarded-up factories where generations of middle-class families like the ones so many of us grew up in found opportunity and hope,’’ Maloney said. “My test is a simple one. Show me the middle-class families who are going to benefit in the district I represent. And then you can come and ask for my support.’’
Jan 15 2015 Conservative Koch Brothers' Group Puts GOP On Notice The agenda covers three areas: taxes, including repeal of the estate or death tax; energy, headlined by a call to build the Keystone XL pipeline; and health care, which includes repealing the Affordable Care Act. Phillips noted that Washington has debated all of the issues for years.
Jan 11 2015 Tom DiNapoli touts strength of NYS pension at swearing-in New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli touted the strength of the state's pension fund and called for campaign finance reform during his swearing-in ceremony Sunday at Hofstra University. In his speech at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse, DiNapoli said the state's finances are in better shape than when he first took office in 2007. "It's taken a number of years for New York to be in a stronger position, but we are," DiNapoli said. The praise comes as DiNapoli enters his ninth year in the job. DiNapoli won his November election with 60 percent of the statewide vote. He also won Suffolk and Nassau counties on his native Long Island with more votes that Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Dec 18 2014 Anti Union Forces Try Their Luck in County Laws Conservative groups are opening a new front in their effort to reshape American law, arguing that local governments have the power to write their own rules on a key labor issue that has, up to now, been the prerogative of states. Beginning here in the hometown of Senator Rand Paul and the Chevy Corvette, groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and a newly formed nonprofit called Protect My Check are working together to influence local governments the same way they have influenced state legislatures, and anti-union ordinances are just the first step in the coordinated effort they envision. Doing this county by county, city by city is more time consuming, but it’s also more time consuming and draining for the unions to fight.”
Nov 2014 Unions: Among the Few Interest Groups Representing the Middle Class The efforts of unions and other groups that represent the interests of the middle class and the poor are critical for making democracy work. Few individuals have the time or resources for sustained engagement with the political system, especially among the poor and middle class. Interest groups provide the structure for individuals to pool their resources on behalf of their preferred policies, provide legal and regulatory expertise, and ensure effective implementation of policies—working not only to help pass legislation but also lobbying for implementation once policies have been passed. They also can mobilize members, and often the general public, at key points throughout the legislative process.
Tom DiNapoli, NYS Comptroller endorsed by both the CSEA and PEF unions, talks about the value of the credentialed and qualified CSEA workers in his office, the record high NYS Pension System fund balance, and, at the 10 minute mark, defends the importance of keeping the current Defined Benefit pension system we all contributed to as municipal workers.
Aug 20 2014 12 Recent Victories for Workers in Raising Wages and Collective Bargaining AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders announced that the union has organized more than 90,000 workers this year, nearly doubling its 2014 goal of 50,000. (Final December 2014 numbers: 132,000 new workers organized by AFSCME)
her Community in New York Every Day as a CSEA Member
Hourlies Need Unions Also: 98 Minute Wait for Medical Care
audio report also
AFSCME: A Force to
Be Reckoned With
DiNapoli: N.Y. pensions are worth defending
DiNapoli's Fall 2014 NYS Pension UPDATE
DiNapoli's Video Re: the Strong Condition of the NYS Pension System
Nov 19, 2011: Women Becoming Unions' New Voices 3 page NY Times article on powerful women in unions
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CSEA Unit 9200 - Westchester Employees Union 112 East Post Road, Suite 428 4th Floor White Plains, New York, 10601-3311
Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM (if visiting; call first to make sure) Phone (914) 995-2151 Fax (914) 995-5629