Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ulster Solar Jobs - The Unasked and Unanswered Question

It is great to see that the Tech City Solar jobs look like they are starting to come to fruition. The Good Lord knows that our local people need jobs very badly.

We have been following the various articles in the paper and so many of our elected officials are squeezing into the picture eager to announce the "hundreds" of jobs that will be created. We also noticed and appreciate the multi-million dollar grants and government payouts that are making these jobs possible.

That all makes great news, the governmental assistance is welcome and neccessary to stimulate the industry..............

With all of that said - we have yet to hear what kind of jobs these will really be. Will they have hourly wages that will help someone maintain a middleclass lifestyle? Will they pay enough to buy a house in Ulster County? Will they have a health plan that covers the employee? What about family coverage? Is there any chance of having something put away for a retirement or pension plan?

The sad part is that the great majority of our "leaders" will shudder at the prospect of someone asking that question.

Just once it would be nice for someone who is considered a "leader" - someone who is in place to help the residents - someone who feels that just creating "jobs" is not really good enough unless they are "good paying jobs" - to ask the "hard" questions.

The sad fact is that is a subject that you are just not supposed to speak of or ask questions about. To do so would make you an ingrate - or someone who is "crossing the line" - a jerk who is looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Want proof of that??? When was the last time you heard any of our "leaders" ask about it? We believe the answer to that is.....never.

So consider the question asked - can someone explain to the community - what kind of jobs are our millions creating?? And please don't give the generic, fluff-off answer - be specific.

Please - don't take this wrong - we hope these are great paying jobs with great benefits. If they ARE, they are worth every penny of investment and MORE.

But can somebody answer the question, "What kind of jobs are we really creating and what are the particulars concerning the COMPENSATION FOR THE WORKERS THERE?

We believe that in order for those jobs to REALLY BE good paying jobs with good benefits - they need to be covered under a collective bargaining agreement and the people should be represented by a union from the area.

The good news is that inroads are being made to ensure Ulster residents get something worthy of their investment and "good" jobs are not just an afterthought in the process.

Hey........somebody's gotta do it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Public Lawyers, Supervisors and Managers Get Union Contract

Forty mid-level managers working for Ulster County have ratified their first-ever union contract. This should be a shining example to all other workers that banding together to bargain for workplace rules and compensation is a smart thing to do. Ulster Legislators should be approving the new contract this month.

The Ulster County Staff Association – a group that includes social-services lawyers, nursing managers and probation supervisors – had been fighting for a contract since 2005.

How could that be the case? That is an extra long time to bargain. Maybe someone from that association could explain who held it up so long and why.

As always, negotiations for contracts are a two way street. The new agreement, which runs through 2010, would give them a 13 percent pay hike but also raises their contributions toward health benefits. The pact does not include retroactive pay, which could have cost Ulster roughly $250,000 but cost them nothing due to collective bargaining. Nice advantage for the County on that one.

Working with and under a contract is the best option for all American workers. Without a contract, you have no say in anything that goes on in your workplace. It's that simple.

Don't listen to the ignorant people and the corporate shills who bash organized labor and unions. There is strength in numbers - and it is an AMERICAN TRAIT to band together for the good of each other. Comments to the contrary are bullshit.

...and to all of those union bashers I have just three little words...........

the Chamber of Commerce.