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Oct 23, 2018 Audit: Westchester had $81.1M in deficits over 5 years, facing ‘deteriorating’ condition
The county experienced planned operating deficits totaling $81.1 million over the past five years, a report released Tuesday by the office state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.
“It is my job to dig our way out of it and if I do well, or I do it poorly, that’s on me but I had something to dig out from and that’s what this report shows,” he told The Journal News/lohud. “It points in very great detail the things that could’ve, should’ve, would’ve but weren’t and now we have to both respond to the audit and then have more rational policy.”
Former County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who served from 2010-17, aimed to stick to a pledge of keeping the property tax flat during his tenure. Budget balance was achieved through cuts, but also relying on one-shot revenues and by tapping into reserves to close deficits as costs increased year to year.
July 13, 2018 Westchester Rising Astorino Leaves Westchester County and Latimer with $32 Million Budget HoleAstorinoLeaves32MillionHoleJuly2018Rising
March 30 2018: NY State Comptroller Review of the 2018 Westchester County budget created by the previous administration of Rob Astorino
Sales Tax revenue is over-estimated by $7 Million and NY State Aid revenue is also over-estimated. The full report is available on the blue hyperlink above.
The governor and legislature passed legislation during the state budget process that changes the Taylor Law in an effort to help fortify unions against the impending implications of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. Click the blue headline link for the full story
A sharply divided court could be poised to overturn a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision that would further undermine an already shrinking union movement.
Attorneys for Mark Janus, a child support specialist for the state of Illinois, argue that people like Janus, who choose not to join a union, shouldn’t be compelled to pay partial union fees. The union argues that he should because he benefits from collective bargaining negotiations. The Supreme Court agreed in 1977, but that could change with the new conservative tilt of the court.
When a decision is reached, expected in June, all eyes will be on Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was uncharacteristically quiet in Monday’s proceedings. He asked no questions and is likely to be the deciding vote, given that the other justices split 4 to 4 in a similar case in 2016. That case was decided just after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and the balance didn’t seem to change Monday.
“You’re basically arguing, do away with unions,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued at one point in questioning the attorney for the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, William Messenger.
WASHINGTON – February 27, 2018 – Throughout the month of February, working people have been more energized and organized than any time in recent memory. There have been nationwide moments of silence and fast food strikes to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike. Tens of thousands took to the streets in at least 30 cities this weekend to demand an end to a rigged economy. Today, there are more than 500 worksite actions. Working people are speaking out with pride and passion, even as billionaires and corporate interests tried to use the United States Supreme Courttoday to attack public service workers, good union jobs, and the health and safety of communities across America.
One Westchester County lawmaker’s mother ended up with a six-figure elections job that was created as part of the 2018 budget he voted for. But Legislator David Tubiolo, a Yonkers Republican, denied having any prior knowledge that his mother, Barbara Tubiolo, was in line for the position.
The Board of Elections acted as a landing pad for several people who lost their other county jobs, including former legislators Francis Corcoran and Sheila Marcotte, who started $93,000-a-year jobs as program administrators at the Board of Elections on Jan. 2, the records show. Corcoran and Marcotte voted against the budget initially, but voted to override a veto of the budget as one of their last acts before leaving office last year.
County Executive George Latimer was sworn into office on Monday, vowing to create a more transparent and renewed government throughout his term.
Moments after Latimer was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Gretchen Walsh in White Plains, he announced that he would be sending a formal request to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to perform a full and open fiscal review of the county’s policies and procedures.
pdf version: Jan1 2018 Latimer Sworn In As County Executive
Not only did CSEA efforts help defeat a state constitutional convention, our members in Westchester County were tireless in doing the phone banking, labor walks and campaign work that resulted in voters overwhelmingly choosing state Sen. George Latimer to replace two-term incumbent Rob Astorino as county executive.
The defeat ends eight years of Astorino routinely bashing CSEA’s insistence on a fair contract, underfunding vital services, and even going so far as to single out CSEA Westchester County Unit President Karen Pecora during layoffs.
“What I have been hearing for the last few days is ‘it’s Christmas in November,’” Pecora said. “It is such a great feeling to know that the first negotiations meeting that we schedule will be with county representatives who will respect the over 3,000 members here and the work we do.”
Nov 16 2017 Talk about mailing it in. That’s what lame-duck Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino did with the 2018 county budget. A week after he was denied a third term by state Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, Astorino announced his budget in the late afternoon, via news release, without a news conference where he could be questioned about his financial plan for the county he has led since 2010. It was a break from Westchester tradition. His predecessor, Andy Spano, put on a public face to present his final budget after Astorino denied him a fourth term in 2009.
pdf version: Nov 16 2017 Tax Watch_ Astorino's 2018 budget
Opinion: Unions will face a tough challenge when the Supreme Court says ‘yes!’ to freeloaders Janus is a child-support specialist with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services in Springfield. He’s the named plaintiff in a lawsuit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 in which his side argues that it violates his rights to compel him, as a condition of his employment, to give part of his paycheck to a union whose mission he doesn’t support.
To clarify: The law has long given unionized workers the right to opt out of paying dues that support political candidates. But it does allow the union to charge them a “fair-share” fee for the costs of negotiating contracts and advocating for workers in disputes with management.
Janus vs AFSCME Supreme Court case to be decided in 2018 The last thing America needs is an assault on the freedom to form strong unions and speak up for ourselves and our communities. Unfortunately, attacking the freedom of working people to come together is exactly what the Janus v. AFSCME lawsuit is all about. Although fronted by a lone state employee, the case is bankrolled by the National Right to Work Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center — the litigation wing of the Illinois Policy Institute — part of a network funded by billionaires and corporate CEOs who use their massive fortunes to tilt the playing field in their favor.
Nov 8 2017 In New York Suburbs, Democrats Flip Two County Executive Seats
Westchester County has dodged the corruption investigations that in recent years have dominated politics on Long Island. But the two candidates for Westchester County executive managed to suggest scandals in each other’s camp. Initially, the race centered on discussion of property taxes, job growth and fiscal stewardship.
Nov 2 2017 Rob Astorino Campaign News: Westchester County government employees being TOLD to help Rob Astorino’s re-election bid
“Please clear your schedule and donate Thursday, Friday and Monday to the campaign,” Deputy Commissioner of Social Services Philippe Gille wrote the employees in an email obtained by The Post. “You can use personal or annual leave (not sick leave) for this purpose,” he added. “Please expect to donate your time.” The directive states that staff should also plan to work for free to help the campaign after they vote on Election Day, a paid day off for most government workers.
Sept 21, 2017 CSEA member’s quick thinking saves a life in White Plains NY
When they made that stop on one recent summer day, however, Jay Gonzalez, a motor equipment operator at the City of White Plains, remained in his work truck as his co-worker went inside. That decision may have saved a life. “As I was sitting there, a lady came running and knocked on the window,” Gonzalez said. “She was knocking hard and crying. I opened the door and she said, ‘Do you have a knife, do you have something that can cut a seat belt? My daughter is choking!’”
August 2017 Union’s Loss Is the South’s Loss, Too
With employers and anti-union politicians telling them that unionization would threaten their jobs, Southern workers choose to stick with what they have rather than risk sharing the fate of their poorly paid neighbors. And while the threat does not square with reality, since major car plants worldwide are typically unionized, a majority of workers are not willing to call this bluff and organize for better wages and conditions.
This dynamic stubbornly depresses wages in the South, and throughout the country. Even within Nissan in Canton, pay is trending down: While workers hired in the plant’s early years make about $26 an hour, workers hired more recently top out at $24 (and often make less). In addition, Nissan has hired thousands of contract workers who are paid less than employees.
July 18, 2017 Nyack Library workers face opposition to unionizing
In June, workers organized the Nyack Library Staff Association, which is open to all staff and has about 50 members. In a blog post, the group said it was “excited to form an organization which will improve their jobs and enable the library to continue to attract and retain the most qualified and dedicated staff for years to come.”
They also designated as a parent union the NYSUT, (New York State United Teachers) which is made up of more than 600,000 people employed in education, human services and health care. Shortly after, a petition signed by 80 percent of workers was submitted to the National Labor Relations Board, requesting the federal agency conduct a secret ballot election. More
July 13, 2017 Why Millennials Should Lead the Next Labor Movement “At a time when the government wants to disembowel public and private health care and when wages are on the decline, our best recourse to these threats is to join existing unions or unionize ourselves.
We show higher support for unions than previous generations, and with good reason: Unionized employees typically enjoy better benefits and have made about 27 percent more than their non-unionized counterparts for roughly the last 15 years.”
June 21, 2017 New York State CSEA members will vote on proposed 5 year contract settlement. pdf version below CSEA is New York’s largest state workers union with about 60,000 mostly blue collar workers, has been without a contract since their last agreement expired at the end of March 2016.
While neither side was speaking publicly about details of the contract … union members would get 2 percent annual raises for five years….. Additionally, the bill spells out increased automatic longevity increases and bonuses. One new feature is a bonus for 15 years of continuous service which starts at $2,500 per year to $4,500 by April 1, 2019. Additionally, overtime for those working in institutions such as psychiatric hospitals will rise from 1.5 to 2 times the hourly rate. CSEA HQ story
June 12, 2017 Unions Come into the Supreme Court Crosshairs, Again
Unions again have reason to be nervous. Having already determined that the issue in the case warrants the court’s attention, the justices will probably agree to hear it. And if Justice Gorsuch votes with the court’s more conservative members, which seems likely, millions of government workers in more than 20 states could be allowed to opt out of paying for collective bargaining, depriving unions of vast sums of money and making them less powerful and effective.
May 26 1937 May 26 2017 Today is the 80th anniversary of The Battle of the Overpass. The United Auto Workers president Walter Reuther and union members were attacked, bloodied, and injured by hired Pinkerton private security guards from Ford Motor Co. as they tried to hand out union leaflets to workers at the Ford factory in Michigan. Front page photos of the beatings appeared in all newspapers and the popularity of unions grew strongly.
May 19 2017 $14M budget deficit projected for Westchester by Astorino administration through spokesman McCormack. Each year the administration talks deficits, each year the books close with a surplus.
May 17 2017 Strong odor prompts Labor Department visit to Westchester Board of Elections CSEA 9200 contacted NYS Labor Dept PESH unit to conduct a safety inspection due to worker complaints re ill effects from fumes and odors.
April 14, 2017 2017-18 Enacted New York State Budget Summary from CSEA headquarters
Mar 17, 2017 Video: CSEA workers on the job for Winter Storms
Dec 29 2016 Story: Plow Drivers Provide Vital Service