Friday, March 31, 2006

Who speaks for you?

AFSCME Council 92

Pay Raises Coming!

The House and Senate Conference Committee on the Budget completed its work. The budget includes a Cost of Living Raise for all employees as follows.

Salary below $45,000 $900

Salary between $45,000 - $70,000 2%

Salary above $70,000 $1400

AFSCME has argued that the 2% pay raise submitted by the Governor was too low for low paid state employees and pushed for an equal dollar amount for all employees of $993. This plan represents a compromise that is still better for the average state employee:

For a $20,000 salary this means a 4.5%

For a $30,000 salary this means a 3%

The legislature also adopted a new minimum salary of $20,447 for employees in the State Personnel Management System. This will particularly assist classifications such as Food Service Workers, Grounds Keepers and Human Service Aids.

In addition, the legislature approved:

Step increases in January and July.

Deferred Comp Match of $600 effective July 1.

Correctional Officers will see their upgrade effective April 12.

Much thanks goes to the AFSCME members who spoke out loud and clear about the need for MORE MONEY for State Employees.

Not resolved yet are key issues of the prescription drug benefit roll back and an improved pension system. Stay tuned for further developments.

AFSCME Council 92

Legislative Office: (410) 269-1817

To the unionists who worked for us in Annapolis

Psalm of the Non-Unionist

The dues paying member is my shepherd. I shall not want.
He provideth me with rest days and vacations
So that I may lie down in green pastures
Beside the still waters.

He restoreth my back pay
He guideth my welfare without cost to me.
I stray in the paths of the non-righteous
For my moneys sake.

Yea, though I alibi and pay no dues
From generation to generation
I fear no evil, for he protects me.
The working conditions which he provides
They comfort me.

He annointeth my head with the oil of workers compensation
Sick pay, holidays, and a pension.
He represents me in grievances.

And my cup runneth over with ingratitude.
Surely his goodness and loving kindness
Shall follow me all the days of my life
Without cost to me.

And I shall dwell in his house forever
And allow him to foot the bill.

Thanks and a tip o the mortarboard to Saul.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rally Monday in Annapolis

Get Active with AFSCME

What: Statewide AFSCME Rally (indoors) in Annapolis
When: Monday, March 13 at 6:30 PM
Where: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building, Annapolis
(behind the Thurgood Marshall Statue in Lawyers Mall)

Your elected representatives are about to vote on legislation that will benefit you and your family for years to come:
  • Pay Raise
  • Pension Benefits
  • Health Insurance
  • Strengthening Collective Bargaining
. . . but passage of these bills is NOT A SURE THING!

Attend this rally and have an impact on Maryland legislation that will better your life.
It is both your right and responsibility as an American citizen to speak out now.
This is not the time to sit on the sidelines and hope others will take care of this for you.

Remember, AFSCME is YOU!

For more information, directions, or transportation arrangements, contact:
  • The AFSCME legislative office at (410) 269-1817, or
  • The AFSCME Council 92 office: 190 W. Ostend St. Baltimore, MD 21230
  • 547-1515 or 1-800- 492-1996

Big-league political football

“Facing budget deficits, Mr. Ehrlich slashed colleges’ budgets, and tuition levels soared to among the nation’s costliest. This year, the state is flush, so it’s politically convenient to try to make colleges whole and dampen tuition increases. Now Democrats would put in even more state money and freeze tuition. Then what happens when state budget deficits very soon return, as predicted? More university system cuts and more 10 percent tuition increases?”

We can understand this. Football has always been good to the gov. It got him out of Arbutus and into Gilman prep, then to Princeton, and now the metaphor serves him well in Annapolis.

Unfortunately, his 12.5-percent UMS budget increase does not
“ . . . make colleges whole and dampen tuition increases.” The increase returns the budget to the level of a year ago. You can bet that his 40-percent tuition increase will not be rescinded.

This year's paltry 2-percent staff wage increase is all the more galling when UMS squandered much of the gov's 12.5 percent on pet projects. Yes, I'm talking about UMS buying the Ward Decoy Museum among other idiocies.
“A firm and farsighted state commitment to funding higher education is absolutely critical to the long-term health of Maryland’s economy. Unfortunately, as recent history shows, Maryland’s commitment is uncertain and shortsighted. State leaders need to get serious about figuring out how to pay for the kind of university system this wealthy, educated state deserves.”

. . . but first, the gov’s gotta go watch the Terps.
Read more here

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Below decks at the flagship institution

The current federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is of course, a national disgrace. Despite our gov’s protests that America (well, his America anyway) will collapse if the minimum wage is raised, the Maryland legislature is currently debating House Bill 55 that would raise our state’s minimum wage to $6.15.

What's to debate? You’d think that the political risk of adding a dollar to the minimum wage is on a par with assuming a courageous moral stand against drunk driving and spouse abuse. Particularly since the Maryland Department of Budget & Management (DBM) estimates that the total yearly cost for the one-dollar increase is $847,500—approximately what Halliburton charges the taxpayer to deliver today’s lunch to one soldier in Iraq.

As if there isn’t enough shame to go around, the University of Maryland admits that 2400 of their employees would be covered under the new minimum wage law (see Extract from Fiscal Note below). If you or anyone you know currently works for the University at less than $6.00 an hour, call AFSCME Council 92 in Baltimore today! Email or phone: 1-800-492-1996

Extract from Fiscal Note

The bill would require that the State pay its employees $6.15 per hour effective July 1, 2006. As a result, State expenditures could increase by approximately $847,500 in fiscal 2007 due to additional wages and mandatory payroll taxes paid on behalf of State employees. The estimate provided by DBM did not include employees at the University System of Maryland (USM). USM advises that approximately 2,400 contractual employees who are covered by federal or State minimum wage requirements are paid a wage of less than $6.15 per hour. Based on information provided by DBM and USM, Legislative Services estimates that wage and payroll tax expenditures would increase by approximately $600,000 in fiscal 2007. In addition, St. Mary’s College advises that increasing the minimum wage would increase its expenditures by approximately $128,000 in fiscal 2007, which represents increased wages for approximately 600 student-employees. Morgan State University advises that the bill would have no impact, as the university currently pays its employees a minimum of $6.25 per hour.