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November 01, 2005

Comments

Screech

Allow me to post this timely letter from Tuesday's OCR about the Prop 75 issue.

See if you are comfortable with how things really are, regardless of the distortions in they hysterical ads you see from the unions.
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Letter-writer Janet Terry doesn’t know what she is talking about when she says teachers don’t need protection from the union [“Labor doesn’t need Prop. 75 paycheck protection,” Letters, Oct. 29]. I am a teacher who needs protection from the union. I oppose the union’s political agenda and ask for the money back that they spend on their political campaigns.
The union retaliates by making me an “agency fee payer,” which means I get a small amount of money back, which they supposedly would otherwise spend on politics. However, I am not allowed to vote for my representatives. I am told that I will have no representation if I have a problem with a superior, and I am denied the insurance that all the other union members get.
So in order to keep my job, I am forced to pay the union fees, but get nothing in return. I urge everybody to vote yes on Proposition 75.
Ursula K. Souders

Screech

Come to think of it, mods, how about a thread on that?

How much refund of dues and what rights does a union member lose if they are forced to become an agency fee payer?

How much are the dues?

Post some specifics, feel free to document what you say, so we will all know the real truth. Post urls for references.

One thing I noticed during last year's supermarket strike, seemingly intelligent people believe barefaced lies if they come from their union. I downloaded the contract offer from the union website, printed it out, and when the strikers wanted to engage me in discussion I would show them the offer in black and white from their own union's site.

I got some wide eyed stares, some disbelief, some were quite amazed that what they were told was the offer was not true at all. Some couldn't be convinced even with printed proof.

Does this mean the Field Poll is now considered 'leftist' leaning like the PPIC poll?

Jason

The union retaliates by making me an “agency fee payer,” which means I get a small amount of money back, which they supposedly would otherwise spend on politics. However, I am not allowed to vote for my representatives. I am told that I will have no representation if I have a problem with a superior, and I am denied the insurance that all the other union members get.

I'm so glad that letter got printed. It's a point I've been trying to make without, success, in letters of my own and even a full-length column. Thanks for posting that Screech - and for the invitation to provide specifics.

The conservatives have controlled the Presidency and the Congress for over five years and what do we have?

So you should be very happy -- and the world should be in a great place, right? I mean, you've had five years or so of dominance of all three branches of government -- where's the nirvana? All I've seen is one $350 tax refund, an unneccessary $300B+ war, a huge national debt where once there was a surplus, huge gas price increases in a time of huge oil profits, etc.

When do the good times start?

Screech

Jason, I hope the mods will post a thread on that, I would like specifics. Nuts and bolts.

Lurk, Jubal, post that OCR letter from today in it's own thread.

R.A.

Re: Letter of Ursula K. Souders

Did anyone think to get the response from the union representative (aka: thugs) on the content of the letter written by this person or are the facts/sequences being accepted on face value as fact?

The hurry to jump on the anti-union wagon is very similar to the reaction of "union thug" video piece described in earlier posts/comments.

The anti-union emotional sentiment is overwhelming what is usually thoughtful and insightful comment stream.

In general, according to the latest polls, it seems that the majority of union households do not share the view of Ms. Souders and the anti-union loyalists will need to regroup and attack again after election day.

Screech

R.A., I doubt it. The OCR doesn't seek responses from officials on any letters to the editor. But you can respond. Please do! Write OCR. Post here.

Post specifics. Don't bother making vague allegations.

If you are a union member, exactly how much are your dues, based on what, (percentage, monthly fee, whatever) how much would it be reduced if you were to opt out and be an agency fee payer, and exactly what rights if any would you lose? That's what the OCR reader said, I wish she had posted specifics. But you can. Maybe someone knows her and can ask her to post here.

I have heard all the vague arguments. Be specific.

from the OC site

http://www.oceamember.org/homepage.htm


The cost of an OCEA membership is very little—just $10.34 biweekly! - so $20 bucks or so a month.

From their application is says :$3.00 of the annual dues is applied toward a yearly subscription to the OCEA Employee. The payroll deduction includes a PAC
contribution (presently 72 cents per pay period or 36 cents for part-time employees), unless I have opted out in writing.


so a grand total of 72 cents a pay period.

Jason

But you can respond. Please do! Write OCR. Post here.

Post specifics. Don't bother making vague allegations.

I second all that. And please, where at all possible, post supporting URLs so that the interested can confirm stuff, rather than having to take it as gospel.

Lurk

Jon Fleischman's also got a commentary on the validity of the Field Poll on this blog: http://flashreport.org/commentary.php.

Screech

About OCEA, Orange County employees (no on D, apparently not the firefighters, though they are Orange County employees, aren't they?)

$10.34 biweekly, or $268.84/year.

That is not the teachers union which the letter writer mentioned. I think teachers union dues are more than that. I know the CTA did have a $60 annual political assessment, in addition to the union dues. All to support liberal causes it seems. I hope someone posts.

This is interesting, from the pdf application the anon poster mentioned:

"1. I hereby authorize the Auditor-Controller of the County of Orange to deduct from salary due me the amount or percentage indicated above, and to pay the same to the proper agent, such deduction to continue until I notify such official in writing. It is expressly understood that that amount may be subsequently adjusted to meet rate changes duly prescribed unless I withdraw my membership and deduction authorization."

Hmm. I guess it's NOT too hard to authorize payroll deductions. They were able to manage. I don't see the big deal.

Jason

Anon, it would appear from that website that membership in the OCEA is voluntary, but I couldn't find anything that specifically whether it is or not. Is that true? Can someone be an employee of Orange County and NOT be a member of the OCEA, NOR an agency fee payer, NOR be subject to the collective bargaining agreement's provisions and conditions?

It would also appear that the membership form already provides a written "opt-in" for the PAC contribution, so Prop. 75 wouldn't change anything for the OCEA except to make the "opt-in" yearly rather than one-time. I would love to know if that's also true for the other union organizations.

Allan Bartlett

These polls don't mean much because it's really all about who turns out. It gives a general snapshoot, but I predict that GOP turnout will pull all of Arnold's props across the finish line a winner. We have every precinct in Irvine covered this weekend with volunteer walkers and we also walked all the permenant absentee ballot voters a few weeks ago. We are going to out-hustle the Democrats on the ground and get these reforms enacted.

Powder Blue Report

FR Blog

FlashReport blogger BILL WHALEN just posted the results of Stanford/Hoover Inst/Knowledge poll with markedly different numbers:

www.flashreport.org

When the Field poll showed the issues ahead, that was a good thing and champagne corks were popping. Now it shows them behind and the results are suspect.

The folks on this blog are hysterically funny in how quickly their opinions of someone or something can change like a morning breeze.

anon ii

They're failing,
They're dropping,
The Kennedy in sheep's clothing is losing....

jason:

Can someone be an employee of Orange County and NOT be a member of the OCEA, NOR an agency fee payer, NOR be subject to the collective bargaining agreement's provisions and conditions?
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Contractors would be exempt. All others are either members or payers. Including management.

Jason

Thanks, that's what I thought - and I do hope that was the same anonymous commenter who posted the comment I quoted (it's so hard to tell when commenters don't at least use handles).

I just found it intriguing that both the OCEA's and the CTA's sites have such lavish sections extolling the virtues of membership. It gave me the impression that membership might not be compulsory - that the unions had to really "sell" the idea of being a member. But I guess it does really matter to the union how many members they have vs. payers, given that that's the only distinction between "compulsory" and "voluntary" membership.

Oceamember

Jason,

It was the same. missed the handle, sorry

The CADEMMAJORITY y supporters say hello:

Isn’t Halloween over?
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Meanwhile, over at the “Sisyphus” Express, we noticed that the Governor’s employees, Tom Campbell and Margaret Fortune, are doing events with “two nurses, a teacher and a sheriff.”

If Campbell dresses like a sailor and Fortune shows up in her construction worker gear, they could have a “Village People Reunion.”

After seeing today's Field Poll numbers, though, Campbell and Fortune might want to keep their masks on. Instead they just keep pushing that Proposition 76 rock up the hill.

Wonder what they did to deserve that punishment?

Also:

Micro-who?
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Out on the “Magical Mystery Tour” the Governor is making pit stops at local GOP HQ – to rally what few troops he has – and he is calling his friends on right-wing Talk Radio. (Wow! One week away from the election and you’re still working on your base?)

With yet another poll showing his initiatives going down and (surprise!) the Governor’s participation actually dragging them down, it’s no mystery what he’s gonna be saying to the true blue Republicans out there today – HELP!

The LA Times highlights the master plan, although it really hasn’t been much of a secret: Call a Special Election, blame all of the problems on unions, target the conservative base and hope that an earthquake hits and separates the Bay Area from the rest of California.

The Governor’s office calls it “micro-targeting.” Wonder which micro-brain thought up that one?

Anyways, the subhead of today’s Times story reads, “With Schwarzenegger's initiatives lagging in polls, he hopes the state's Democratic majority and opponents in the GOP stay home.”

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered next week's special election to take his agenda to 'the people,' but his campaign strategy relies on relatively few people showing up next Tuesday and large segments of voters staying home.

"The governor's plan — 'micro-targeting' voters, advertising in selected markets to reach them and conducting daily polls to augur the political mood — is guided by a single premise: If every Democrat and every Republican in California votes next week, Schwarzenegger's measures are likely to lose.”

The Times continues, “…most of his campaigning has been highly partisan, aimed at the core of the Republican Party. Recent public opinion surveys have shown that Schwarzenegger is having trouble persuading a sizable segment of Republicans to stand by him.” (Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2005)

This is no secret... Times columnist George Skelton said a couple weeks ago that the Governor’s consultants were hoping people would stay home: "That's fine with us," says a Schwarzenegger strategist, asking not to be identified as a gubernatorial aide who hopes certain people won't vote." (Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2005)

Funny thing is, not only is Schwarzenegger is having trouble with the general public, he’s also having a tough time getting Republican members of the Legislature to stand with him.

Guess they don’t fit into the “micro” turnout universe…

calwatch

I work in the government and am a member of an AFL-CIO union (not in the OC though). During new employee orientation, they have a union "field representative" come by and give you free pizza, while implicitly obliging you to fill out the payroll deduction form. The payroll deduction form does have a statement mentioning that you can check the box if you wish to opt out of politics. But you don't get any financial benefit by checking the box. The money ends up providing other non-political services like workplace advocacy and the union movie ticket program. My union publishes its financials every year and break down the anount of money spent on politics. Unlike other unions my union is more of an "association" and as such has stayed pretty non political, so the amount is always less than the maximum they could spend, which is also disclosed on the financial statement.

In my agency, there are employees of the department who are non-union, and are not covered by contracts. Division Heads, their secretaries and direct assistants (right hand men), and many IT people are non-union. But Section Heads and Unit Heads (middle management level), frontline supervisors, etc. are all union.

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