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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Interesting links

Posted by Lou on February 9, 2016

Brothers and sisters,

Today, Local 2881 pledged $1950 to Ted Siedle’s latest crowd-funding effort to raise funds to investigate the real estate investment portion of our pension fund. See the Kickstarter page for more information.

Another interesting article that was published today is an article on RIFuture.org. The author lays out an argument for using the RICO Act as the basis for investigating potential misconduct with our pension funds. It’s fascinating and you can find it here: http://www.rifuture.org/why-wait-for-the-feds-when-ag-kilmartin-can-use-the-rico-act-against-raimondos-pension-scheme.html.

Lastly, Governor Raimondo revealed her budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which can be found and dissected at the Governor’s web page at the following links:

http://www.governor.ri.gov/budget/
http://openbudget.ri.gov/

As always, feel free to contact us via e-mail or the comments below if you have any questions.

Thanks!

January Links

Posted by Lou on January 21, 2016

Thanks to all who came to January’s meeting and helped pass the budget!

In fact, thanks to all of you who make the time to participate in our union, whether that be by coming to meetings and outings, by talking to co-workers and the executive board members about the issues that affect us all, or participating in the political process of contacting your elected officials on behalf of labor. It is well understood that we are all busy in this day and age, but making the effort to participate really means a lot and shows that you are committed to fight for the rights and benefits that workers deserve. If you do not participate (beyond reading this), please take a second to tell us in the comments below what Local 2881 can be doing better to earn your time. The executive board always welcomes your ideas and opportunities to work together to make a difference.

Following up on the discussion of the Friedrichs v. CTA case that is before the Supreme Court, here are some links to learn more:

http://www.afscme.org/blog/the-state-of-our-union-afscme-strong
http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/01/monday-round-up-288/
http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/01/evening-round-up-todays-argument-in-friedrichs-v-california-teachers-association/

Here is the link to our 2013-2017 memorandum of settlement and contract:

http://www.hr.ri.gov/documents/Contracts/Council%2094%202012-2013%20MOS.pdf
http://www.hr.ri.gov/documents/Contracts/Council%2094%202013-2017%20CBA.pdf

Finally, the Economic Policy Institute was mentioned yesterday, also. There are a great resource for working people like us. The publication mentioned during the meeting was about Right To Work states having lower wages. You can find that article at http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/.

Pledges, Pensions and a Budget Meeting

Posted by Lou on January 11, 2016

Brothers and sisters,

We pledged $3000 to fund Ted Siedle’s most recent Kickstarter effort. Unfortunately, the investigation was was not fully funded, and therefore we will not be contributing the pledged funds. However, there has been some publicity about pension funds recently: http://www.ibtimes.com/wall-street-fine-print-retirees-want-fbi-probe-pension-investment-deals-2250476. It is my understanding that the group behind this change.org petition is going to be submitting their letter to the SEC soon also.

So, hope is not lost. There are people still fighting.

Today, the fight is continuing on multiple fronts. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. There has been lots and lots of coverage, but the best (and most technical) is from SCOTUSblog. There’s a ton of links to other sources on SCOTUSblog, here.

Finally, our next general membership meeting will be Wednesday, January 20, at 4:20pm in the 3rd floor cafeteria of 235 Promenade Street. The main topic for discussion will be the 2016 Local 2881 budget. See you there.

End of 2015…

Posted by Lou on December 30, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

2015 has certainly been a tough year for union members allover the country, not the least of which being here in Rhode Island. But I urge you to remain strong, remain cohesive, and remain unified against those who look to weaken our collective power. Whether it be nationally, as a result of whatever decision is rendered in Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association or big corporations gorging on profits while the wages of their lower and middle-class workers remain stagnant; or in our state, where we have made major concessions in our benefits in the last several years. We cannot thrive without a concerted effort from every member in our fight against those who seek to weaken us. We need you now more than ever. We hope that you will be more involved in 2016 and be willing to continue to work with us to create a better condition for all of us in Local 2881.

In other news, we left our December meeting without an approved budget. Our next meeting will be announced shortly, but the main item on the agenda will be to approve a 2016 budget. The draft budget has been distributed twice, but if you have not seen it, please see Lou Maccarone for a copy. And please bring your ideas and potential amendments to the next meeting so that we can solidify our budget for 2016.

Also, as of December 31, Local 2881 has pledged $3000 to Ted Siedle’s crowdfunding effort for investigating the RI Pension system’s real estate investment underperformance. Please consider making a contribution to ensure that the pension managers are held accountable for the fund’s underperformance.

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and have a safe, healthy and happy new year!

Thanks,
Local 2881 Executive Board

December meeting

Posted by Lou on December 9, 2015

To All Local 2881 Members,

We will be having a General Membership meeting at noontime on Tuesday, December 22nd from 12-1 in Room 300 here at 235 Promenade Street. The sole purpose of this meeting will be to review and pass our budget, as well as have some pizza.

I realize this is Christmas week, but for those members who are around, feel free to stop by.

Joe Antonio, Vice-President
Local 2881

Out of Balance

Posted by Lou on November 16, 2015

From AFSCME International:

Friends,

Sign the petitionRight-wing billionaires are pushing a Supreme Court case called Friedrichs v California Teachers Association that could make it much more difficult for public service workers to come together, speak up, and get ahead.

This would have devastating effects on public service workers across the country, AFSCME members in particular.

Sign this petition to raise awareness about how wealthy special interests are continuing their attacks on working people.

In a nutshell, Friedrichs seeks to eliminate something called fair share fees, which nonmembers contribute towards the cost of negotiating and enforcing strong contracts that make it easier to support our families. As all public employees enjoy the benefits, job security and other protections our union negotiates, it is only fair that all employees contribute to the cost of securing those benefits and protections.

It should be no surprise that this effort to weaken public sector unions like ours is being funded by corporate CEOs and wealthy special interests.

Enough is enough! We need to tell America what’s happening. Sign this petition telling the Center for Individual Rights to stop attacking working people.

Giving working people the ability to speak up together through their unions leads to a balanced economy and fair wages for all workers. When we speak up together with one voice we get better pay, better benefits, and ensure a better quality of life for all our families.

Amy Hendrick
AFSCME Digital

November updates

Posted by Lou on November 13, 2015

Hello all,

Last month, we had a general membership meeting, at which we had a chance to talk to General Treasurer Seth Magaziner about our pension fund investments. It was very informative and Mr. Magaziner gave some insight into recent performances, investment strategy, and also provided information about finding data on www.treasury.ri.gov. If you have questions about the meeting or information discussed therein, please contact an executive board member.

A preliminary Local 2881 2016 budget has been drafted and approved by the executive board. A meeting will be held in December to present the budget to the membership, however, time and date are still to be determined.

The Local 2881 holiday party will be held of Friday, December 4. Full details can be found in the flyer that was emailed to all employees last week. You can also see that flyer here.

Finally, our friend Ted Siedle will be in Rhode Island next week. The Retired Teachers Association is hosting him for a seminar at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick on Wednesday. Seats are still available, but sign up is required in advance. See the RIRTA website for details: http://rirta.org/2015/08/16/edward-siedle-seminar/

Friedrich v. CTA

Posted by Lou on September 21, 2015

Brothers and Sisters,

If you haven’t heard about the the largest attack on public sector unions, now is the time to educate yourself. Friedrichs vs. the California Teachers’ Association is being heard by the Supreme Court, and outcome will directly affect the future of unions as we know it. That is not hyperbole, but honest fact. Council 94 sent out the following message recently:

Dear Member,

Wealthy/Corporate special interest groups are determined to destroy labor unions. The United States Supreme Court will soon hear a case that could threaten your contract and union. Please click here to read a great summary of Friedrichs v. CTA.

To prepare for the upcoming fight-

1. Sign up for the AFSCME Strong program by talking to your local union president, steward, or executive board member.
2. Follow Council 94 on twitter @ric94AFSCME
3. Receive text alerts on important issues. Text RI to 237263.

I will keep you up to date as developments occur.

Thanks for your continued activism and support.

In solidarity,
J. Michael Downey
President

Please take a second to read the article. We will be bringing more information to the membership in the near future.

Thanks,
Local 2881 Executive Board