Sunday, October 25, 2009

Anti-Union Democrats - A Great Political Lesson

Enough is enough with this guy.

Mayor James Sottile claims that city residents are feeling intimidated by police officers who are asking for signatures on petitions that oppose police department layoffs.

Union members of the Police Benevolent Association are going door to door to explain to residents that cuts to the police force will adversely affect the ability of their peers to protect the people of Kingston.

The blatantly anti-union Sottile, who always seems to relish having issues with unions in general, runs to the paper and claims there is intimidation going on.

Mayor Sottile is the perfect example of why local political endorsements and decisions by Organized Labor CANNOT BE MADE STRICTLY BY PARTY AFFILIATION. He is the poster boy for that as an ANTI-UNION DEMOCRAT.

This is an EXAMPLE OF WHY many union political funds WILL NOT SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATIC COMITTEE. We wouldn't want any of our HARD EARNED dollars supporting another anti-union candidate through the DEM pipeline.

Sottile stated that “My office has received calls that people felt intimated to sign a petition, and that is a wrong tactic to take.” What he doesn't say is that there is ALSO MUCH SUPPORT FOR THE POLICE.

He is trying to spin this his way because he is against unions in general and it is now the police unions turn in his barrel.

He also said he hopes members of the Police Benevolent Association are not pressuring people into signing. Cut it out Mayor. Just say you hate the unions because they give their members a voice that you have to listen to. They prevent you from being a little Hitler.

The Police Benevolent Association absolutely denies that ANYONE has or would intimidate a resident and if they come upon a resident who does not want to sign they thank them and move on. Remember- they protect the people. It is ridiculous to even say that they have intimidated one of the residents.

So kiddies, when you recieve your union endorsements in the mail and you see a larger mix of Republicans and Democrats - you will understand why we ENDORSE THE PERSON AND NOT THE PARTY. Sometimes even a Donkey turns out to be a pig or a nasty elephant.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stint Work - Smart Move or Jerk Move?

Kingston Mayor James Sottile has made a big splash with his latest move - to discontinue "stint work shifts" among City sanitation workers as of November 1

“Stint work shifts” allow those workers to leave work early if their tasks are completed but still get paid in full.

Let's examine this a little deeper.


Everything in a contract evolves from a previous situation. I would BET that the origin of the "stint work shift" was the following:


In short, it most likely was the business community who screamed at a previous Mayor to get those smelly, large, dirty, obnoxious GARBAGE TRUCKS AWAY FROM MY BUSINESS DURING PEAK BUSINESS HOURS. It doesn't go well with lunch or my pretty little boutique. The trucks also make for a nice CLOG in front of our stores between 12 noon and 4pm.

I can hear them screaming right now in my time machine, "Oh, Mr. Previous Mayor - can you not do something to get those dirty trucks and dirty men away from our customers, parking spaces and buildings? YOU ARE COSTING MY BUSINESS MONEY!"

Have no fear business people - Mr. Previous Mayor has a solution. I will get those dirty men and smelly trucks off of the street before it can effect your business.

I will make them a deal, start early, hustle your ass, finish up and beat it.
Case solved.

Until 2009 that is.

Mayor Sottile has now decided that those days are over and has even been quoted saying that, “It just doesn’t make sense.”

This should be good. I just hope that they don't forget to wash up before lunch. Maybe now they can even dine in one of those fine restaurants with the rest of the lunch crowd.

Know history or you are doomed to repeat it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Forget the PROMOTION - I'm Stickin With The Union!

Acting Newburgh City Manager Richard Herbek has hired former deputy chief Michael Vatter to assume the job of Fire Chief of City of Newburgh. He will start is new job on November 2, 2009.

Vatter retired in 2000 after working more than 20 years for Newburgh in the Fire Department.

The former Chief, Christopher Barrett retired in the beginning of September. That left an opening for many of the current Fire Fighters to fill.

The job has been vacant since.

Why you ask? Why would NOT ONE of the Fire Fighters apply for or accept an offer to apply for the Chief position??

Even the Departments Assistant Chiefs all turned down the chance to apply.



This PROVES something - There's POWER in THE UNION.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ring a Ling Ling - Back To Class

The Onteora School District and the teachers association have reached an agreement on a new contract. The parties negotiated in a marathon session and finally came to a mutual understanding.

It is interesting to note that the impasse that plagued the negotiations was aided by an attorney who was hired to "help" the district negotiate. Sometimes an attorney or a consultant thinks that their job is to stonewall the negotiations in order to "earn" their money. This is quite common. In reality, their job should be to ensure that a fair negotiation is held according to the law and to advise their client so THEY don't break the law.

A lesson for school districts in this case and other parties who negotiate is that sometimes the people involved can actually can do a better job negotiating without the hired guns. Regular people involved in the everyday processes of the business or school district know their situations best and have the uncanny ability to resolve them so no one loses.

The teachers have been working without a contract since July 2008. The union had reached the point of breaking the stalemate with a strike.

"We're all glad to resolve this before it got really divisive for our community," said school board President Laurie Osmond.

Congratulations to the teachers and the district.

Now someone explain the logic behind the "double pay" for the people who would have "filled in" during the strike. After that explain how that issue was decided on in an instant. What budget did that raise come out of?

That part still bothers me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pencils Down.

The Onteora Teachers Association has scheduled a vote for this Tuesday to decide on whether or not to call a strike.

They have been without a new contract since June 2008, when a five-year contract negotiated in 2003 expired.

They began negotiating for a new contract in the fall of 2007 — that was two years ago.

It does not take two years to negotiate a contract if everyone is being reasonable. The teachers began picketing Board of Education meetings last month.

Hundreds of picketers turned out at last Tuesdays meeting. Joining the Onteora Teachers Association in solidarity were the Onteora Non-Teaching Employees Association, neighboring school district teachers unions and even some retired teachers.

The board stayed in executive session for a abnormally long time which made it look like the board did not want to face the picketing teachers. Teachers union official middle school teacher Corey Cavallaro said in response that the board and administration have “absolutely zero respect for us.”

A letter was sent by the union to all parents explaining that the teachers may strike.

In response, the Onteora school board held an emergency meeting at which it agreed to double the pay for substitute teachers and staff in the event of a strike.

Wow! Look how fast they negotiated that! Bammmmm. Let's double the pay! What kind of sense does that make? It seems that there should be some questions raised in regard to that decision. First one should be, is this board negotiating in good faith with the Teachers? Why has it taken two years (so far)?

Listen, believe it or not - unions don't strike at the drop of a hat. Someone, on the district side - is playing games at the bargaining table. That's what this is all about.

......and it shouldn't get to this point.

But the last agreement was made in 2003 and that contract has already been expired two years!

District Superintendent Dr. Leslie Ford - better step in and be a MEDIATOR or hold on to your little mortarboard hat.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Could There Really Be Union Retaliation In Kingston?

Mayor James Sottile has transferred two union city employees active in union affairs into unwanted positions in what could be retaliation for their efforts as union leaders or criticism of his administration.

The mayor says it’s only about trying to get jobs done more efficiently in the city Department of Public Works.

It sure looks very suspicious to anyone who has been following this administrations track record in employee relations.

“This is about coming up with better ways to serve the public,” Sottile said. “It is amazing to me that these same two employees keep complaining whenever they are forced to work.”

Love to hear how that serves the public better in more than just a soundbite in the newspaper.....and what does he mean by complaining?

Does he really mean representing the workers in the bargaining unit when they had to?

Bart Robins,president of the local unit of the Civil Service Employees Association, and Troy Ashdown, a former vice president, are the two employees being transferred to other positions.

Ashdown and Robins said that these moves by the mayor will not save any taxpayer money at all or make services any more efficient. The say Sottile is getting back at them for defending the rights of city workers over the years.

Both Labor leaders were involved in exposing the city for storing and stockpiling chemicals in the DPW and exposing Sottile appointed, former DPW Supervisors who were wasting taxpayer money buying things such as $60 dollar pens. They both also exposed the unfair treatment and chastising of a female city employee for "stealing air" to fill up her flat tire after work one night.

Add this to claims of sexual harrassment against the city, sexual objects being tossed at women worked under the Sottile administration, coupled with these two union representatives putting their political foot in the door when Sottile wanted to lay off workers last year and you have the possibility of Sottile not feeling comfortable around these two becoming a reality.

“Everyone knows we have been the loudest and most ardent critics of the mayor and his dysfunctional policies regarding our department,” Ashdown said.

Let us not forget that the CSEA did not back Sottile for his re-election for mayor last election.

Ashdown noted that “out of a pool of six laborers” at the sewer annex on Wilbur Avenue, only he and Robins were moved.

Ashdown has been reassigned to the city’s wastewater treatment plant on East Strand, while Robins is being moved to the public works barn on Hasbrouck Avenue.

In a letter by Public Works Superintendent Michael Schupp we have this talking head explanation to go by:

“In an effort to continue a satisfactory level of service and maintain infrastructure and health and safety standards under the department’s responsibility to the residents, businesses and visitors to Kingston, some staffing organizational changes must be implemented.” ( Their lawyer obviously wrote that excuse for them )

That's bullshit.

I challenge the new superintendent to put that in words that really mean something that he can justify.

The mayor did make one very telling comment, “I think the public is getting pretty tired of these individuals complaining when all we are asking them is to do what they get paid for.

This move was all about the "complaints" which were all legitimate concerns that they raised on behalf of fellow workers- it has nothing to do with efficiency or the taxpayers money.