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State’s New Law an Incentive To Keep Paying Dues

  • By RICHARD STEIER

A case involving the Illinois affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Janus v. AFSCME, was heard by the high court earlier this year, with a decision expected in June. The plaintiff, an Illinois state worker whose legal expenses were covered by anti-union interests, claimed that it was an infringement on his First Amendment rights to pay the equivalent of dues even though he opted not to become a member of the Illinois district council.

All Activities Political?

 A 1977 Supreme Court ruling known as Abood set out guidelines for what public employees could be required to fund via the agency fees, barring the use of their payments for anything related to political activities, from supporting candidates for office to lobbying. The plaintiff in the case now before the court contends that because he is part of a public-employee union that bargains with the government, all its activities are political, including contract negotiations, and he should not be required to pay for them even though he benefits from the union’s efforts.

The new New York law, agreed to by the State Legislature as part of the budget deal late last month, is crafted in such a way that it could withstand a court challenge even if, as the unions expect, a majority of the Supreme Court rules that agency-shop fees are illegal for public-employee unions. The concern among labor leaders was that a negative ruling might prompt not only agency-fee-payers but some full-fledged members to cease making payments if no longer obligated to do so.

Under the state law, those who didn’t pay dues or their equivalent would still be entitled to wage increases and other benefit improvements negotiated by their unions. They would not, however, be entitled to other key services that many public-employee unions offer, notably disciplinary-arbitration and grievance representation. Those who opted out of paying dues would have to pay for their own lawyers.

‘Only What We’re Required’

“The union is only going to provide the services that we are contractually required to provide,” said United Federation of Teachers General Counsel Adam Ross during an April 5 phone interview. “We’re not going to provide you services we’re not required to.”

He contended that the state law represented “an effort to minimize the services that the union has to provide to people who don’t want to pay their fair share.”

Asked if there was any concern among union lawyers that if an unfavorable ruling was issued in Janus, the anti-union forces would be emboldened to challenge the state’s move to minimize the damage to public-employee-union coffers, Mr. Ross said that because of the way it was structured, “I’m comfortable that nothing in Janus is going to have an impact on this new law.”

District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said union attorneys were still reviewing the bill, but added, “I think it’s a step in the right direction. Overall the bill covers what we want it to do.”

Question of Fairness

As far as what services would not be offered to nonmembers, he said, “The way I interpreted it, the exclusion has to do [solely] with grievances and [disciplinary] arbitration. Those are very expensive for the union. It doesn’t seem fair that members who are paying dues should subsidize arbitration for those who aren’t.”

State Sen. Diane Savino, a former vice president of a DC 37 local, said what while there had been discussion of removing some other benefits for non-payers, “if you slam the door in their face out of spite, they’ll never want to join the union.”

She added, “Nobody thinks they need the union until they do. Then they become an activist.”

http://thechiefleader.com/news/open_articles/uft-lawyer-state-s-new-law-an-incentive-to-keep/article_57507a00-3c03-11e8-be14-3746cad87855.html?link_id=1&can_id=68ec92700ad5b016da5ed592a096db9e&source=email-pef-on-the-move-governor-signs-bill-to-strengthen-unions&email_referrer=email_335040&email_subject=pef-on-the-move-governor-signs-bill-to-strengthen-unions

 

Continued Attacks on the Middle Class

Right to Work law.  Call it what it is:

Right to Work for Less

Work With No Rights

If there is no union, there is no contract.  If unions are decertified and if there are future contracts, all members start from scratch.  Literally ZERO.

http://www.pef.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/PEF-ReCommitment-card.pdf

Recommit to PEF by filling out the card and delivering it to your local steward or regional PEF office.

 

   

 

               

Courtesy of UTD United Teachers of Dade

One Movement

 

 

Cancer Screening Changes

After 3/18/18, if anyone is directed to produce medical documentation that says anything more than, “seen for cancer screening”, please advise your local PEF rep. 

Cancer Screening Changes
Effective March 18, 2018, Section 159-c of the Civil Service Law (Prostate Cancer Screening (PCS)) is repealed. Section 159-b of the Civil Service Law (Breast Cancer Screening) is amended to entitle employees to paid leave without charge to leave credits, for screening of all cancers. Effective March 18, 2018, Breast Cancer Screening (BCS) will be known as Cancer Screening (CS) and will become available to all employees for the remainder of the 2018 calendar year. Employees who have used 4.0 hours for BCS prior to March 18, 2018, are not entitled to 4.0 additional hours for CS in 2018. Employees who charge CS leave credits for cancer screening on or after March 18, 2018, must provide medical documentation that their absence was for the purpose of cancer screening. Medical documentation must be forwarded to PersonnelOps@NYSIF.com. Beginning January 1, 2019, CS will be available for the full calendar year. This benefit is not cumulative and expires at the close of business on the last day of each calendar year.

 

Budget Fight Back

UPDATE:  Thank you to all who wrote letters on the Fight Back section of the PEF website!
§  Ella McQueen Closure 
Education, Labor and Family Assistance (A.9506/S.7506)—Part H
This proposal would allow for the closure of the Ella McQueen Reception Center for Boys and Girls provided that 30 days’ notice is provided.
Currently, state law required 12 months’ notice for such closure.  Closing this facility before seeing what impact the new Raise the Age law has on the system is premature.
Ø  PEF Request:              Reject A.9506/S.7506 Part H
Ø  Assembly Action:         Rejected A.9506 Part H
Ø  Senate Action:             Rejected S. 7506 Part H
Ø  FINAL ACTION:      REJECTED  
Time is of the essence for the Ella McQueen facility in Brooklyn, see link below.

Keep Ella McQueen Reception Center Open

Issue:

Proposed fast-track closure of the Ella McQueen Reception Center for Boys and Girls in Brooklyn with only 30 days notice instead of the 12 months required by current law.

Impact:

Allowing closure of this OCFS facility with a scant 30 day notice thwarts the law and does a disservice to the young clients, the community and the dedicated PEF staff working there. The closure of any state facility merits the careful consideration required by the law.

Please also check out other Budget Fight Back letters that need our support:
 

A.G. Schneiderman Leads Multistate Coalition Urging U.S. Supreme Court To Protect Workers’ Organizing Rights In Key Labor Case

https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-leads-multistate-coalition-urging-us-supreme-court-protect-workers

 

“The right to organize is a fundamental American right that has been critical for families across New York,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Unions are the backbone of a strong middle class, giving workers the power to lift themselves up and build a better future. The Supreme Court should follow settled precedent and allow states like New York to manage our own labor relations – vital to government efficiency, labor peace, and our long tradition of supporting workers.”

The brief was led by Attorney General Schneiderman and filed by the Attorneys General of New York, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

 

THE JANUS STAKES HOW A COMING SUPREME COURT RULING COULD AFFECT NEW YORK’S GOVERNMENT UNIONS

2/26/18

Supreme Court hears Janus arguments today

  • This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME case, where conservative billionaires and corporations are pushing their agenda to bankrupt unions and silence workers. AFT President Randi Weingarten, who helped write the AFT’s amicus brief in the case, is inside the chambers for the arguments, while big crowds of union members and are allies are rallying out front on the steps. In her most recent column appearing in theNew York Times, Weingarten writes that “the current ideological composition of the Supreme Court suggests that this one complaint could undercut the interests of millions of workers by depriving their unions of funds they need to function. That’s not an unintended consequence — it’s the entire point of these assaults on unions.” On Saturday, in cities across the country, thousands—including huge numbers of AFT leaders and members—rallied for workers’ rights as part of a national day of action.
  • Billionaires battle to Erode Union Rights

Report looks at the conservative donors behind the case

  • Yesterday’s New York Times included a detailed report that looks at what it calls the “web of conservative donors” behind the Janus case and how concerted and cohesive their efforts are. “It’s a mistake to look at the Januscase and earlier litigation as isolated episodes,” Columbia University professor Alexander Hertel-Fernandez tells the Times. “It’s part of a multipronged, multitiered strategy.”

Share the Times’ report on Twitter and on Facebook.

 

Empire Center – The Janus Stakes (1-8-18) (1)

 

2016-2019 PEF Contract

2016-2019-Agreement

 

 

Gallery

 

Taxability of educational benefits

Cc:

Loccisano, Kim;
To all,
 
Please see the information from Kim L. below.  As you can see good news came with bad.  The good news was the cap of the benefit for nurses went from $4320 (2016) to $5600 (2017).  The IRS limit before reporting is $5250.  Hence, the bad news, those that took the maximum benefit in 2017 are now above the IRS reporting threshold.  For 2018, members should weigh whether they want to take the full benefit and exceed the cap.  This all depends on each person’s unique tax situation. 
 
However, it should be noted that ONLY the amount above the IRS threshold of $5250 is reported.  So for that benefit only $350 should be reported as taxable income and the inclusion of $350 in additional income with OSC most likely taking out withholding on that $350 (maybe around $140),  This assumes it is the only benefit you received for educational benefits in a calendar year or did not receive the higher level benefits (which you would have received these letters previously)
 
We wanted to get you the explanation so you know what caused more letters than usual to be sent out by OSC.
 
Todd
 
Todd M. Kerner
Executive Director
NYS Public Employees Federation
 
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution is prohibited. If you received this e-mail and are not the intended recipient, please inform the sender by e-mail reply and destroy all copies of the original message.
 
From: Loccisano, Kim 
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 10:39 AM
To: Kerner, Todd
Cc: Delgado, Renee
Subject: increase in benefit for 2017
 
Todd,
 
Here are the numbers for the 2017 increased educational benefit for CTR.
 
For Undergraduate Courses
 
2016 – $270 per credit hour
2017 – $350 per credit hour
 
2016 – maximum benefit for 2 courses at 4 credit hours each – $2,160
2017 – Maximum benefit for 2 courses at 4 credit hours each – $2,800
 
 
For Graduate Courses
 
2016 – $453 per credit hour
2017- $550 per credit hour.
 
2016 – maximum benefit for 2 courses at 4 credit hours each – $3,624
2017 – Maximum benefit for 2 courses at 4 credit hours each $4,400
 
 
Then….if the member is a nurse, you can double the benefit using their Nurses Enhanced College Tuition Reimbursement (NECTR) Benefit
 
So….that means that the nurses could have doubled their benefits to look like these numbers
 
Undergraduate using NECTR-
 
2016 – $4320 for 4 undergrad courses
2017 – $5600 for 4 undergrad courses
 
 
Graduate courses using NECTR
 
2016 – $7248 – for 4 Graduate courses
2017 – $8,800 for 4 Graduate courses.
 
 
 
Kim
 
 
Kimberly Loccisano
Training Specialist
NYS Public Employees Federation
1-800-342-4306 ext. 240
 

Hotel Trades Council, AFL-CIO (HTC) boycott

UPDATE:  Thank you to all who supported!

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 3:47 PM, Mario Cilento <information@nysaflcio.org> wrote:
Thank you!
With your help and the dedication of the Hotel Trades Council members and their leaders, union workers at the Hilton Albany have secured a fair contract safeguarding important benefits for members and their families.
We can all be extremely proud of the dedicated HTC members who maintained a presence on the picket line outside the Hilton Albany for four months, never once wavering during this labor dispute. We applaud Peter Ward for his leadership as the Hotel Trades Council President.
This fight showed great solidarity and I want to thank all of our union members and their affiliates who supported their sisters and brothers by joining them on the picket line and I thank all those who did the right thing and boycotted the hotel during this fight. Their support helped to send a powerful message that when working people stand together their collective voice will always be heard.
I encourage everyone to continue showing your support to our brothers and sisters of the HTC by resuming business with the Hilton Albany now that the boycott has been lifted.
Mario Cilento
President New York State AFL-CIO

 

How you can help  Hilton Albany Joint ltrdw

This fight began when the hotel’s new owner announced his intention
to cancel the workers’ retirement plan, and to cut their vacation and bereavement benefits, stubbornly rejecting the union’s proposals to adequately remedy health and safety issues in the building, including a
rodent problem in the kitchen areas. The hotel also refuses to provide what we consider adequate security.
One housekeeper was the victim of an attempted sexual assault on the 5th floor in September. Management
will not even agree to the union’s standard “no discrimination” contract language.
HTC is also fighting to significantly raise wages and improve conditions for the employees in the Hilton Albany,
and the other unionized hotels in the Albany area.