20 Apr

Neon Tommy – Benton Harbor Public Workers Forced Into Concessions

On March 16, 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that would allow the state to appoint an “Emergency Financial Manager” (EFM) to essentially take over a city within the state when it is deemed that the city is in a state of “financial crisis.”

This state-appointed official has the power to void union contracts, remove elected officials, and can dissolve local authority completely, replacing it with the authority of the governor through the EFM.

The first city has fallen — Benton Harbor, Michigan. A few days ago, the powers of the local, elected government were dissolved, and elected officials were replaced by a state-appointed EFM, Joseph Harris. Public workers are being forced into concessions on their unionizing rights.

The locals no longer have a voice in their own government. Despite numerous protests held by locals indicating that they do not, in fact, wish for their rights to a democratically elected government to be impeded, the policy has not changed.

via Neon Tommy – Benton Harbor Public Workers Forced Into Concessions. This is insane, to read about. It feels like something that shouldn’t, couldn’t happen in the US. Imagine if the President just fired all of the state governors, remove state legislatures, break state contracts, literally just crazy.

28 Feb

NYTimes.com – Majority in Poll Back Employees In Public Unions

Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.

Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along similar party lines. A majority of respondents who have no union members living in their households opposed both cuts in pay or benefits and taking away the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Governors in both parties have been making the case that public workers are either overpaid or have overly generous health and pension benefits. But 61 percent of those polled — including just over half of Republicans — said they thought the salaries and benefits of most public employees were either “about right” or “too low” for the work they do.

via NYTimes.com – Majority in Poll Back Employees In Public Unions. Looks like the Governors are overly extending themselves politically.

16 Feb

NYTimes.com – Public Workers in Wisconsin Protest Plan to Cut Benefits

Behind closed doors, Scott Walker, the Republican who has been governor for about six weeks, calmly described his intent to forge ahead with the plans that had set off the uprising: He wants to require public workers to pay more for their health insurance and pensions, effectively cutting the take-home pay of many by around 7 percent.

He also wants to weaken most public-sector unions by sharply curtailing their collective bargaining rights, limiting talks to the subject of basic wages.

via NYTimes.com – Public Workers in Wisconsin Protest Plan to Cut Benefits. The second part doesn’t make a lot of sense as far as a partial solution to solving the deficit, the collective bargaining wouldn’t reduce any current state payments to employees. It seems more designed to just weaken the unions to hurt the workers more in the future but not actually solve a problem this year. The article goes on to cite other states considering similar bills, that weaken the collective bargaining powers of state employees.

10 Feb

NYTimes.com – American Medical Response Settles Facebook Firing Case

An ambulance company that fired an employee after she criticized her supervisor on Facebook agreed on Monday to settle a case brought by the National Labor Relations Board.

The plan resolves an Oct. 27 complaint against American Medical Response of Connecticut that said the employee, Dawnmarie Souza, had been illegally fired and denied union representation.

Among the issues was whether a worker has the right to criticize a supervisor on a site like Facebook if co-workers add comments. The case was the first by the National Labor Relations Board to assert that employers break the law by disciplining workers who post criticisms on social-networking Web sites.

via NYTimes.com – American Medical Response Settles Facebook Firing Case. Good decision employees should be able to comment in their private off time as publicly as they wish about their company (minus releasing trade secrets and such).