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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Giovanni Folcarelli Scholarship

Posted by Lou on March 30, 2016

Brothers and Sisters,

Council 94 has made the Giovanni Folcarelli Scholarship application packet available on their website. You can get a copy via the link above. If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, please contact Susan Petersen at Council 94 Headquarters at 724-5900.

Good luck!

Friedrichs v. CTA

Posted by Lou on March 29, 2016

The Supreme Court has issued a decision in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers’ Association. The court has tied, 4-4, therefore affirming the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to allow “agency fees” to be collected from non-members who benefit from collective bargaining activities by unions. Links to more coverage below:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/03/29/supreme-court-public-employee-unions-mandatory-fees-scalia/81123772/

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/us/politics/friedrichs-v-california-teachers-association-union-fees-supreme-court-ruling.html?_r=0

AFSCME Council 94 State Convention

Posted by Lou on March 16, 2016

Brothers and Sisters,

If you are interested in going to the state AFSCME convention being put on by Council 94, please let Joe Antonio know ASAP. The convention is 9am-12pm on Saturday March 26, at RI College. There is no agenda available, but we are trying to get an idea of what business is being conducted to keep you informed.

Also, we’re soliciting ideas for the summer outing, so if you have any suggestions, please contact one of the executive board members.

Thanks!

Pension Fund News

Posted by Lou on March 8, 2016

More bad news about our pension fund: GoLocalProv.com is reporting that the state employees’ pension fund has not grown under Raimondo or Magaziner.

There are multiple reasons for this, but it basically comes down to a combination of two factors.

1) Negative cash flow – Due to the age of the system and previous generosity to people who weren’t contributing and/or early retirements, the fund pays out more in benefits than it receives in active employee contributions.

2) Underperforming investments – The pension fund return on investment over the last five years has been 9.77%, but the S&P 500 (an index of 500 large corporations considered the best respresentation of the stock market as a whole) has increased 14.1%. Ted Siedle will be specifically investigating the real estate portion of the pension fund investments in an upcoming investigation.

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