Tag Archives: SEIU

Measure loosens discipline disclosure requirements for California state workers

SEIU's best buddy...

SEIU’s best buddy…

Sacramento Bee: Some state workers fired from their jobs could apply for another state position and not disclose their termination, under the terms of a bill that is now in the California state Senate.

Several public employee unions, including sponsor SEIU Local 1000, support Assembly Bill 466. It allows fired state employees who have agreed to never again seek employment with an agency (as opposed to never seeking any state employment) to apply with other departments – and not disclose their prior discipline settlement.

The unions say the measure clarifies a law enacted last year. It changed state employment forms to require job applicants to disclose whether they have ever reached a disciplinary agreement that bans them from seeking or accepting subsequent employment with the state.

Some disciplinary agreements narrowly prohibit reapplying with the disciplining department, however, so there’s confusion over what must be disclosed, the unions say. That means disciplined employees may shy away from reaching limited settlements because of the boundless mark on their work history. And that, the unions say, will result in higher numbers of cases that don’t settle and go on to more-costly full hearings before the State Personnel Board.

There is no filed opposition to the measure, which cleared the Assembly in May. The legislative deadline to send bills to Gov. Jerry Brown is Sept. 11.


Shocker, not: No high-deductible CalPERS medical plan in California budget

SEIU's best buddy...

SEIU’s best buddy…

Sacramento Bee: A proposal to add a low-cost, high-deductible plan to the state’s menu of medical insurance options was left out of the budget that Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Wednesday, although it could resurface later.

“Staff advise that those provisions weren’t included in the final agreement” that Brown struck with the Legislature, Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said in an email.

The governor wanted lawmakers to require that CalPERS, which negotiates and administers medical coverage for state employees and retirees, add at least one health plan to the state’s menu that would give subscribers lower monthly premiums paired with a tax-advantaged health-savings account. Since the state pays a percentage of premiums, a high-deductible pay would save money for the state and, by extension, taxpayers.

But high-deductible plans exchange those lower premiums for higher co-pays for visits to doctors and significantly larger deductibles for treatments, hospitalization and drugs. Employees bear those higher out-of-pocket costs.

Unions blasted Brown’s proposal, while some state experts questioned whether such a plan – common in the private sector – would save money. And the lowest-premium insurance that CalPERS offers is also its least popular, raising the possibility that state employees would stick with their high-premium plans even if offered a high-deductible alternative.

Although the proposal wasn’t in the budget, Brown could still resurrect it. The governor has said he wants to negotiate lower-tier benefits with labor unions, and he’s in talks with four groups right now. If any reach agreement for a cheaper plan before lawmakers adjourn in September, a bill could be rushed through for Brown’s signature. And with three more state budgets to craft before he is termed out, the governor could float the idea again in subsequent proposals.

While your insurance costs go up thanks to Obamacare (and some of us can’t afford insurance yet pay for others’ plans on our federal taxes), government employees reap the benefit of their unions donating to the democrat party. Enjoy!


Are California taxpayers going to be responsible for millions of unfunded liabilities (aka government employees’ extraordinary benefits)?



Sacramento Bee: The Sacramento City Unified School District provides its longtime teachers, plant managers and office workers an increasingly rare benefit: lifetime medical coverage upon retirement.

It’s a hugely expensive commitment, and the district and its employees have relatively little money set aside to cover the cost.

District officials estimate that Sacramento City Unified needs another $634 million – nearly 1.5 times its annual budget – to fully pay for the health benefits promised to its workers and retirees, based on the latest actuarial data. That number represents the gap between projected health care costs and what its investments are expected to cover.

Trustee Jay Hansen

Trustee Jay Hansen

Trustee Jay Hansen said he wants that outsized liability to be reined in with the district’s upcoming budget hearings. Trustee Diana Rodriguez, chairwoman of the district’s newly formed budget committee, said she has been researching options for doing just that. The three-member committee, which also includes trustees Darrel Woo and recently elected Jessie Ryan, will schedule its first meeting in the coming weeks.

After previously serving as an appointee, Hansen won his first trustee election in November despite drawing fierce opposition from the Sacramento City Teachers Association, which represents more than half the district’s 4,000 workers. He said employees and the district will have to contribute more toward future health care benefits to reduce the unfunded liability.

“Everyone needs to make a financial commitment, the district and our employees, to solve this problem,” Hansen said Thursday. “There is no way around that.” Rodriguez, however, said it’s too soon to know what mix of contributions is required to stem the growth of liability. “These have been ongoing conversations,” she said.


The Sacramento City Teachers Association says it has already begun contributing more, citing a 2010 contract in which members agreed to contribute $200 annually to retiree health benefits. Union leaders questioned why Hansen has called for immediate action.

“Raising alarms about this school district may not be the best way to address the issue,” said SCTA Executive Director John Borsos. “In terms of financing it, most school districts do pay-as-you-go.”

Pay-as-you-go in Sacramento City Unified means when a retiree is ready to collect the benefit, the district pulls money from its general fund, which also covers salaries and operating costs.

In a survey last year of California’s 300 largest K-12 districts, California Common Sense found that 87 percent had no funding set aside for promised retiree health benefits. The Mountain View-based nonprofit has called on state and local governments to tackle pension costs.

In the Sacramento district, the unfunded health benefit liability amounts to nearly $13,300 per student, the group said. That puts Sacramento behind only the Los Angeles and Fresno unified school districts in the per-student cost comparison.

In each of the last two years, Sacramento City Unified spent more than $18 million from the general fund on health benefits for current retirees.

Another large local district, San Juan Unified School District, does not provide health care benefits for life. Instead, retirees continue to receive health and dental benefits until they reach 65 and become eligible for Medicare. The district’s unfunded liability is $88 million.

In contrast, when Sacramento City Unified retirees reach 65, the district picks up the cost of supplemental policy premiums for life.

SCTA representatives say the district has other priorities that take precedence over saving for future health care costs. “It’s much more important to get class sizes where they should be,” Borsos said.

Though Sacramento City Unified has the largest K-3 class sizes in the region, the district agreed in September to begin lowering them at about three dozen elementary schools that serve low-income students. Borsos said it needs to pick up the pace to attract more students and counter falling enrollment.

Five years ago, the Sacramento County grand jury estimated the district’s unfunded liability for health care at $560 million. Since then, the obligation has increased another $74 million.

Rodriguez said she and other trustees since 2008 have addressed the liability. The 2010 contract between the district and SCTA created a trust fund to set aside money for retiree health care. Today, district and SCTA member contributions have pushed that trust to $5 million.

Around the same time, teachers and the district agreed to double the amount of time required to qualify for retiree health benefits, up to 20 years from 10, Rodriguez said. Gerardo Castillo, Sacramento City Unified’s interim chief business officer, said his staff is recommending that the district contribute another $6 million on behalf of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Teamsters members.

SEIU's best buddy...

SEIU’s best buddy…

David Gordon, chief of the Sacramento County Office of Education, said SCOE’s retiree health benefit was unfunded by close to $50 million when he took office more than a decade ago. “We went to the employees and said, ‘Look, this is not sustainable. If we want this benefit, we have to begin to pay into it like we would a pension,’” Gordon said.

As a result of those efforts, SCOE put $8.5 million in a restricted account for CalPERS to administer. SCOE’s two unions agreed that employees would contribute a portion of negotiated raises, generating another $1.5 million a year.

To help control future costs, workers hired after Nov. 1, 2006, were required to work 15 years at the agency to receive the lifetime health benefit. Previously, new hires were vested immediately. Within eight years, Gordon said, the liability went from largely unfunded to 60 percent funded.

He said he’s had less success in persuading Sacramento City Unified to take substantive action. Gordon, in regular letters about the district’s interim budgets, began offering to help address its growing unfunded liability as early as 2007. Two years ago, he devoted entire letters to the problem, asking Superintendent Jonathan Raymond in 2013 and interim Superintendent Sara Noguchi in 2014 to provide his office with a funding plan for systematically reducing the deficit. “I don’t have the ability to tell them what to spend their money on,” he said. “If they want to keep running this unfunded liability, that’s their prerogative.”

Gordon said continuing to pay retiree benefits from the district’s general fund ultimately will intrude on money available for student programs, he said.

Big health care liabilities arose in California’s school districts largely because medical benefits in the 1970s and 1980s were relatively cheap, Gordon said. That made retiree coverage a nice perquisite that districts could offer in lieu of salary hikes. “As health care costs started to rise though the late ’80s and into the ’90s, many districts realized this benefit would sink them in the long run,” Gordon said. “So they negotiated their way out of it, or they prefunded the benefit.”

Finding a fix won’t be easy. Castillo said addressing the liability just for teachers, counselors and nurses would require $47 million a year for the next 20 years.

Hansen said he knows the district can’t start by paying that amount. “It would be too big a jolt,” he said. But, he said, the district needs to “start paying as much as we can this upcoming budget. Then we need to be increasing that for the next two to three years until we’re funding at an appropriate level” for the next two decades.

“Previous school boards made a deal to have today’s board pay for yesterday’s promises,” Hansen said. “I don’t want to do that anymore.”

You thought the numbers you just read about were big? Take a look at these numbers.




Teachers union backs Sharpton’s planned anti-police rally

Two race baiters

Two race baiters

NY Post: The teachers union is pitting its members against cops — by sponsoring and promoting the Rev. Al Sharpton’s anti-police rally in Staten Island next week, The Post has learned.

The United Federation of Teachers sent an “action alert” ­e-mail that even promised free transportation to Sharpton’s Aug. 23 demonstration that is billed as a march for justice for “victims of police brutality.”

Some teachers were furious that the union would take such a prominent role in the event. “What a disgrace. What is going on with the leadership of the UFT thinking it’s OK to protest against rank-and-file cops?” asked one teacher. “Would we want cops protesting in front our schools over low test scores?”

The union is one of four sponsors of the rally, which will feature the family of Eric Garner — a 43-year-old who died last month after an NYPD chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

Sharpton’s National Action Network, the NAACP and local 1199 SEIU — a strong supporter of Mayor de Blasio — are also members of the coalition.

But the mayor won’t be attending the protest. He had earlier cautioned organizers against attempting to march en masse across the bridge, which has no pedestrian walkway.

“Mr. Garner’s death was a tragedy for the city,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said when asked about the union’s involvement. “Teachers want to help ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

March organizers said the union is not helping fund transportation across the Verrazano Bridge from Brooklyn.

One top NYPD union leader said he’s troubled by the UFT’s actions. “Mulgrew is always on the wrong side of the issues, and I’m not surprised,” said Ed Mullins, head of the police sergeants union. “The UFT has other issues. This is not their issue.”

A flier for the rally — attached to a UFT e-mail sent to its membership — proclaims the rally a ”March for Justice for Victims of Police Brutality!” It adds: “We Will Not Go Back.”

This wouldn’t be the first time the teachers union rallied against police action. Five hundred of its members joined a June 2012 march protesting the city’s unequal implementation of stop-and-frisk.



Supreme Court Smacks Down SEIU Thugs

High Court Deals 7-2 Blow Against SEIU

Washington, DC (June 21, 2012) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 today, siding with nonmember California state employees challenging a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) political fee charged to them without notice and opportunity to opt out.

The case concludes a prolonged legal challenge affecting some 36,000 California government employees initiated by eight California civil servants who filed a class-action lawsuit with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

In 2005, SEIU officials imposed a “special assessment” to raise money from all state employees forced to accept union representation as a job condition for a union political fund, regardless of their membership status. The fund was used to defeat four ballot proposals, including one that would have revoked public employee unions’ special privilege of using forced fees for politics unless an employee consents. Employees who refrained from union membership were given no chance to opt out of paying the SEIU’s political assessment.

Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work, issued the following statement regarding today’s ruling:

“Today, the United States Supreme Court upheld workers’ First Amendment rights and struck down another union boss scheme to confiscate and spend state workers’ hard earned money for politics without their permission.

“Attorneys from the National Right to Work Foundation – the nation’s leading advocate for workers who suffer from the abuses of compulsory unionism – argued, and the Court agreed, that the workers should not be forced to subsidize union officials’ political spending, even for a short period of time.

“The Court closed a giant loophole that allowed union bosses to confiscate money from workers’ paychecks for political spending sprees – and sent a message to union officials, once again, that forced political conformity is unconstitutional.”

I hope this is the first of several smackdowns against Obama and the liberals by the Supreme Court

Tom in NC

SEIU Threatens Picket – Planned Parenthood Cancels Fundraiser

Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette (along with abortion services, they sponsor regular social events called “Sexy Tuesdays) has abruptly cancelled its annual fundraising dinner, which was scheduled for Saturday, May 12.

The $250-per-plate event fell victim to a threatened picket line. Last August, Planned Parenthood’s 179 clinical workers voted to become part of Service Employees Union Local 49. Since November, the organization and SEIU have been trying to agree upon a contract. Frustrated with the pace of negotiations, SEIU let Planned Parenthood and many of its patrons know they planned an action for Saturday night. That was an effective move, given that many of the metro area’s elected officials and their top supporters planned to be at the event, which this year had a “Roman Holiday” theme.


The cherry on top:

  Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America is married to Kirk Adams, International Executive Vice President of SEIU!


12% of San Francisco’s union bus-drivers missed work

Add this to the 1,001 reasons why America’s cities are broke:

An alarming 12.2% of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) workers — all unionized — didn’t show up for work in 2011, resulting in the cancellation of scores of bus runs each weekday, with no warning or explanation for the stranded passengers.

Obama loves the Service Employees International Union!

Zusha Elinson reports for The Bay Citizen, April 28, 2012, that on average, about 150 out of 1,200 Muni operators — 12.2% — missed work unexpectedly during the last three months of 2011. Such unscheduled absences, as Muni calls them, include drivers who call in sick to take care of themselves or a member of their family, drivers who have jury duty and drivers facing disciplinary issues.

Faced with a $29 million budget shortfall and out-of-control overtime spending, Muni is no longer paying overtime to replace drivers who call in sick. And so, the transit agency now cancels 35 to 45 runs each weekday to reduce overtime costs. The cancellations, which have resulted in cuts to bus service, are putting renewed attention on the contentious issue of driver absenteeism.

The absentee rate for Muni drivers is high when compared with the national average of 3% across industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is also higher than the absentee rate for other workers at the transit agency. On a typical weekday, 7% of Muni’s mechanics have an unscheduled absence.

But the percentage of unscheduled absences is not as high as the rate at one other Bay Area transit agency. At AC Transit in the East Bay, the unscheduled absence rate for drivers was 12.5% — the worst in the Bay Area — during the last three months of 2011. AC Transit skips about 20 runs a day, according to Clarence Johnson, a transit agency spokesman.

Muni drivers say the health hazards and stress of the job contribute to the unscheduled absences. Ron Austin, vice president of the union that represents 2,200 Muni operators, says:

“We’re dealing with homeless people and sick people and mentally ill people and children and teenagers while we’re trying to keep everything on schedule. All this pressure rests squarely on the operator. You’ve got to be a baby sitter, and you’ve got to drive this 40-foot vehicle through very congested streets.”

The new contract with AC Transit’s 1,200 drivers requires drivers to obtain a doctor’s note if they are absent for more than three days. And operators are generally not paid for sick days unless they take two or more. Before the changes, some drivers would take a sick day in the middle of the week and then come in on their scheduled day off and get overtime. Now the agency’s new labor contract includes a rule requiring drivers to work 40 hours a week before getting overtime.