Thursday, April 30, 2009

The NOT Fully Developed Plan

Mayor Sottile has gone to the paper to announce that he has a plan to combine the Department of Public Works and the Department of Parks and Recreation to make things more efficient. He says the merger would save money and create a wider pool of workers to maintain city parks.

CSEA Unit Vice President Troy Ashdown has said that the proposal will neither save money nor make the parks any cleaner and that there are still questions that need to be answered in regard to the Mayors proposal.

“It is just change for change’s sake,” Ashdown said. “The Mayor is just playing musical chairs.”

Ashdown told Hudson Valley Labor Report that he absolutely agrees that the city should be run as efficiently as possible but the devil is in the details.

To Ashdowns credit, the Mayor admitted to the Daily Freeman that specific plans have not been fully developed, he did say however, that he plans to shift at least five recreation department laborers to public works.

The job of a municipal labor leader is to ensure that the taxpayers get the best production in return for their tax dollars and that, at the same time, workers rights are respected within any "plan" that may be proposed.

Judging from the past track record of this Mayor, the welfare of the workers is not too high on his list of priorities, so Ashdown is 100% correct to make sure he gets involved and questions a plan that is - from the Mayors own words - NOT fully developed.

HVLR has a suggestion for the Mayor. Why not involve the union and develop the entire plan as a team?

“My number one responsibility is to the taxpayers of this community, not the CSEA,” Sottile said. Good soundbite but there are tons of examples of his office costing those same taxpayers money for stupid reasons.
.....and, just last week he involved himself in the CSEA election. This week, he doesn't care.

That seems to be part of an ongoing problem with this Democratic Mayor - he seems to have a few different personalities and a problem working UPFRONT and well with others....and his union issues transcend just the CSEA.

The Mayor told the Freeman he is perplexed by Ashdown’s comments, saying that “behind closed doors,” union officials appeared to back the plan.

How do you back a plan that even the Mayor admits is "not fully developed"?

“It is unfortunate that the vice president criticizes me for trying to save jobs,” Sottile said. Another good soundbite.

Recent history shows that this Mayor does not have a record of saving jobs. Just rewind to the budget he proposed for proof. He didn't give a damn about saving jobs or the people in those jobs.

The best part is that Alderman Charles Landi, D-Ward 3, who chairs the Common Council’s Finance/Economic Development Committee, defended the mayor’s plan, and unfairly bad mouthed the union while doing it.

What could Charlie mean? He backs the unfinished, not fully developed plan?? Good ole dependable free thinking Charlie.

Looks like Charlie is just taking shots here or maybe just doing shots - one or the other. Either way - you're too much Charlie.

Here is a simple solution Mayor- meet with the union and work out a REAL finished plan before going to the paper half cocked and starting a dispute over one that isn't even "fully developed".

Maybe it is time, as some commenters on this blog have said, to take a look at electing a few more Republicans and ousting a few these do nothing, anti-union Democratic blowhards we have in office now in Kingston and in Ulster County as a whole.

It's a good bet that the Republicans would love a few new friends these days and they can't possibly be any worse than some of these "allstars" we have in office now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

School Is In Session....Pay Attention And Take Out Your Labor Law Textbooks

Pay attention kiddies and know your rights.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Perfect Example: We Need Unions And The EFCA

The brainwashed, the ignorant, the corporate hacks and Fox news cool aid drinkers are in for a suprise. This NEEDS to change and it is going to change.

Maybe Walmart, like the rest of the companies who are against the EFCA are really just worried about the workers having the right to a secret ballot election.
Yea, and they truly care about their "associates".

It looks more and more like the time for bullshit has passed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

WOW, Look Who Is Proud To Be A Union Member!

When employees bargain TOGETHER with their employer they can increase the chances that they will receive the proper training to help them perform their jobs.

Everyone knows that unorganized workers in every field LAG BEHIND their union counterparts when it comes to legitimate and proper training in their workplace.

The recent pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama showed the world that unions can save the lives of workers by providing quality on-the-job training and support.

Listen to the words of someone who was actually there and involved in that terrible situation in the high seas. He credits their success to their union membership, training and the employees feeling of togetherness as a working unit that made everything work out for the best.

What a great example of what ORGANIZING and working together can do!

However, millions of workers - back here on land - are harassed, intimidated, or fired for trying to join unions. The Employee Free Choice Act would change that.

But corporate lobbyists are pulling out all the stops to block this bill. Lies are flying all over the place because the momentum is on the workers side this time and the corporate hacks are nervous as hell.

Every worker needs to have a voice at work! Even us land lovers!

Let The Games Begin

The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce is holding a seminar today for its members about the Employee Free Choice Act.

The Employee Free Choice Act allows WORKERS TO CHOOSE to join labor unions by a secret ballot election OR if a majority of those same workers sign a petition or cards telling the employer that they want a union - they would get it instantly, right then - without waiting sometimes months to have an election.

It is common knowledge that the month delay is very important to employers who plan on breaking Federal Laws to stop a union election.

That is what spawned the URGENT need for the Employee Free Choice Act.

What is the difference to an employer if a majority of workers who want a union hand them cards stating that fact or if a majority of workers tell them that a month later in an election?

The answer is simple - it doubles the opportunity for those workers to join the union......and da boss man doan like that.

The Chamber says: "This educational session will provide information about union-organizing rules, the proposed changes and a practical approach for business owners to prepare for this possible change".

Translation; We are meeting to help businesses plot on how to take away American workers rights and how to lobby against those rights.

This law isn't about the "unions", it is about the "workers".


Don't they realize that all subjects in negotiations must be agreed upon by both the employees and the business owner?

Why would a fair business man not want to put the terms and conditions
(whatever they may be) in writing?

They actually put it writing right now - it's called the "Employee Handbook".

Take yours out and read the last few paragraphs where it will say "THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT" and that the employer can "UNILATERALLY CHANGE" anything in it WITHOUT ANY NOTICE TO THE EMPLOYEES.

That's real fair.

Here's why - the employer does not have to listen to any employee concerns at all without a union in place. They like it like that - and it's ok that they like it.

Who wouldn't like making all the rules without question - no matter how unfair those rules may be?

But, here in America - working people HAVE THE RIGHT to adjust that situation a little by bargaining with the employer as a group.

Why all the histeria about that?

Businesses sign contracts and NEGOTIATE for every single thing they buy. They sign contracts and NEGOTIATE over the cost of every single thing they sell.

Their employees want to negotiate too - for the daily labor that they sell every day to their employer.

What's wrong with that??

Monday, April 20, 2009

Are Taxpayers Paying Mayor Sottile To Run The City Or The CSEA?

Kingston city taxpayers should take solice in knowing that their Mayor is spending his days trying to make sure that the unions internal machine is running fairly. In this tough economy, that is a very good use of his valuable time.

In the most recent CSEA election season, there were union members who were interested in running for office. So far, so good.

Internal union election procedures are structured and precise, so that every person who wants to be involved and run for an office can. The structure is no different from those in place when you are running for a public office.

Follow procedure, properly file your election forms and start campaigning.

Simply put in this particular case, the interested parties that filled out the election form did not write in the proper office that they intended to run for. This negated their opportunity to run for the correct office.

Normally, this would not be a problem and it could be amended. But in a campaign strategy utilizing the element of suprise that backfired, the candidates waited until the end of the last day to file their papers, leaving no time to change their incorrectly completed form.

Now unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere, you already know that the Mayor of Kingston has no love for the current leadership of the local CSEA, Troy Ashdown and Bart Robbins. No love because they actually do their jobs well and protect the rights the employees of the city.

Now comes the best part. The Mayor is spending his day writing letters to the CSEA in Albany questioning whether this internal union matter has been done fairly and expresses that he is very concerned about it.

He wrote, "Over the past month, I have received a number of complaints from city employees with regard to the election process and procedure. These employees have indicated that the process has not been fair and equal to all."

“They have also expressed their distress with the fact that they feel they are not getting accurate information from their local representatives. I am asking that your organization investigate the concerns of (the union members) with regard to this election and its process.”

Sottile also stated that his “sole concern is that this process be applied fairly and equally for all.”

Isn't strange how the guy who is always against the union and its members now has such a great concern about if they are being treated fairly?

What's next Lance Matteson and March Gallagher outside picketing for higher wages for Ulster residents??

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hey, Hey, My, My

Looks like the National Labor Relations Board has reached down and peepee smacked the owner of the Concept Packaging for interfering with the employees who wanted to form a union.

The problem with it is that the Labor Board is making a ruling on illegal conduct that happened months ago. The employer might have stepped onto the wrong side of the law - but looks like that's the price you don't mind paying when your goal is to trip up your own employees and stop them from enjoying their rights as Americans.

The damage is already done to the election campaign and innocent people lost their jobs.


I ask you, what other group takes on the task of fighting for working peoples rights, the quest for dignity in the workplace and good paying jobs everyday?

I mean, of course, besides the local IDA boards.

An election should follow shortly. Let's hope the people who were humiliated and forced to protest against their own rights can now recover some courage to stand up against an unfair thug of a boss.

On another note, I hear that the contracts for Shop Rite, Stop&Shop and Pathmark are going to expire this weekend. The good news is that both labor and management have pledged to work with each other and come to an agreement that is fair for both sides.

Isn't that the way it is supposed to be?

Make sure you patronize good companies that provide good jobs.

Let the other ones starve to death. Ya hear me Hannafords?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Remember These Poor Concept Packaging Workers?

That really has to be one of the most embarrassing, staged and self denigrating public displays ever seen. ..........I'm against myself, really.

The results are in concerning the alleged safety violations at Concept Packaging in Newburgh, the second largest perfume bottler in the nation.

Blocked exits, a blocked and restricted fire-suppression system, an inadequate flammable-storage room, improper storage of flammables, inadequate electrical equipment, inadequate personal-protective equipment, lack of hazard-communication training and machine-guarding hazards.

OSHA found over 30 violations and could be getting ready to fine the company over $60,000 for allowing those unsafe working conditions, some of them very dangerous.

Also involved are about 19 workers who have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board claiming they lost their jobs when they were discovered to be part of a group that called in the union to organize the workers.

Seeing their fellow workers fired for starting to organize is what made the rest of those poor people march against themselves. Swearing that the dangerous conditions inside were ok and that they did not need the union. That was just pure intimidation coming out of those peoples pores. That is what fear looks like - in their eyes.

Soon, the National Labor Relations Board should rule on some of the discrimination charges on behalf of the 19 workers and also on the election date - which will actually be decided and held someday.

This is a classic and VERY LOCAL EXAMPLE OF why we need to pass the
Employee Free Choice Act.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"At-Will Employees"

This article is for our friends who DO NOT work under a UNION CONTRACT.

What is "at-will employment"?

The "at-will doctrine" is a rule of contract law.
"At-Will" means that an employee can quit at any time and an employer can fire an employee at any time and for any reason.

Read any employee handbook and you will find those words. Sounds like a logical arrangement on the surface doesn't it?

When the at-will doctrine is applied by a court, here is what the "AT-Will Employee" can expect in regard to his or her rights at the workplace:

A job that is described as "permanent" does not mean that it will last forever. It means only that the job is not temporary or not seasonal.

The employer can discharge the employee at any time without even an explanation.

The employer can discharge the employee for absolutely any reason. For example, simply because the employee asked for a day off.

The employer can discharge the employee without any warning. For example, for the very first time the employee is late.

The employer can discharge the employee without offering the employee any kind of "hearing" or chance to explain.

The employer is not required to give an employee two-weeks notice, or any advance notice at all prior to discharge.

The employer is not obligated to tell the employee the reason for the discharge.

The fact is that the at-will doctrine provides an employee no job protection at all.

Here are a few differences between the At-Will employees workplace and the employee who works under a written CONTRACT:

A contract between the employer and employee provides greater protections for the employee.

A collective bargaining agreement between a union and the employer provides for discharge only if there is "just cause."

Wrongful discharge in violation of the written contract is a labor law violation.

IF YOU DO NOT WORK UNDER A CONTRACT read the employer's handbook, manual, or policies and you will probably realize that the "deck" is stacked heavily in the favor of the employer, who unilaterally wrote those documents.

The best part of the employee handbook for the employer is that if an employee EVER finds something in the handbook that could make him or her "right" and the company at fault or liable for something - EVERY EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK CONTAINS A CLAUSE THAT SAYS THAT THE EMPLOYER CAN CHANGE THE HANDBOOK AND ANY OR ALL OF ITS CONTENTS AT ANY TIME THE EMPLOYER CHOOSES.

Can you say paid slaves? Or better yet, in most cases, low paid slaves? What rights do "At-Will" employees have that the non paid slaves of the past didn't have? The sad answer is that they only have the rights that are provided by the passage of laws.

Thankfully, the At-Will Employees have also benefited from the struggles of the AMERICAS UNIONS - who fought for and won each and every right the AT-Wills have that was LEGISLATED and MADE LAW. It is organized labor who fights for all workers rights and for the passage of every labor law we have AND WILL EVER HAVE.

And by the way, the same people who wrote those employee handbooks fought the passage of every one of those labor laws that we all enjoy and take for granted today.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kingston And Benedictine Nurses Working For Nistel - Stand Up And Be Counted

Registered Nurses who work for the private company called Nistel Inc. have voted to become part of the NYS Nurses Association. There are about 50 nurses who work at the hospitals who are employed by the company.

They join another 200 nurses from Benedictine hospital who already decided to join the union last September.

Now these workers can work along WITH management and create a written contract that will be beneficial for both labor and management. The nurses say that they chose to join the NYSNA because they feel comfortable knowing that this union is an expert organization in dealing with the issues that affect registered nurses.

The best part for all of the nurses involved is that they now will become part of the decision making process whenever an issue concerns the hours, wages and working conditions of the nurses.

It is just smart business to lay out a game plan and to look ahead at some of the issues that may arise and to work out those issues prior to the time that they occur. This saves time, money and a lot of hard feelings. It also lets all parties know that there is a standard to follow that everyone has had an opportunity to develop.

Great job NYSNA.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It Is Obvious What The Truth Is Here

The Employee Free Choice Act INCLUDES the right to insist on a secret ballot election in addition to ADDING the right for the majority of workers to just sign cards or a petiton. The employer THEN MUST BARGAIN WITH THEM - settling the issue instantly.

The thought that employees could actually form a union WHENEVER THEY DECIDE TO sends fear through the hearts of most unfair employers. The result is a heavily financed campaign that could be titled "Complete Lies, Distortion, Stereotyping and Fear - or whatever works"

The EFCA will definitely kill off ONE extremely lucrative business, made for the same snakes that are now hissing the loudest against the law:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Guidelines Established For IDA Financing

The Industrial Develepment Agency has FINALLY decided to focus on not only financially assisting businesses but demanding that those who ask for help from the county - actually create good jobs for local people in return.

There has been a puzzling tug of war taking place concerning the melding of the need to attract business and the need to create good jobs for the people of this county.

For years, the IDA gave away the store and created nothing for the poor slobs in the county looking for a decent job. How frustrating it was to see millions of dollars given to needy millionaire businessmen that created no jobs.

But those days are over! By a seven to zero vote the IDA has established new rules for businesses asking for public assistance.

Here is a brief outline of the details:

Any business who accepts IDA financing must create local jobs during the construction phase and then hire local people for their permanent jobs.

All construction workers WILL be paid the NYS Prevailing wage for the area in order to ensure that local construction businesses who pay their local employees good wages are not undercut by transient workers and businesses from out of the area.

All permanent jobs WILL include a health plan and a $12 minimum wage.

There will be a post-project employment report sent back to the IDA that will show that the employment provisions of the contract with the IDA were and are being complied with.

IDA Board members will have access to every project at any time to conduct worker interviews for compliance.

Businesses not willing to comply with these procedures will be DENIED financial assistance.

Businesses willing to comply with these procedures will be financially assisted with much higher levels of compensation than were previously allowed.

The IDA Board has looked back into their history and found that they have wasted many opportunities and given too much to those who gave little or nothing back.

The new system will distribute more financial assistance to those who truly want to partner with the county. By cutting out those businesses who only want to feed themselves at the public trough and give nothing in return, they FREE UP MONEY TO ASSIST THOSE BUSINESSES THAT REALLY DESERVE THE HELP.

Congratulations to the IDA board and its members for finally thinking with the best interest of businesses and working people in mind and recognizing that their prior blind eye to the extreme lack of job creation was an awful mistake.

With almost 10 percent unemployment and almost nothing to show for years and years of just "giving the money away", this is a real breath of fresh air and a long overdue and very smart position to take from this point foward.

April Fools