Something Happens

One of the drawbacks of working during the day is that I don’t get to update this blog continually.  As a result, most of my posts are made several days in advance and queued to publish at specified dates and times.  If a budget actually gets passed during my workday, I plan to take an early lunch and update with the details ASAP, but aside from that, instant updates are pretty much not an option.  So once in a while, an update — other than a passed budget — may manage to sneak past my paper-scanning.

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A State Employee Tries To Stand

The ongoing Pennsylvania budget impasse has obviously been a huge topic lately. Saturday afternoon I logged into my control panel and found the below comment waiting for approval.  I contacted the author of the comment and obtained permission to publish it as a guest post.

It seems as if the media coverage of the impasse is painting a rosy picture of zero-interest loans and creditors willing to show lenience.  The reality is that plenty of people like myself with good credit (around 700 FICO across two of the three bureaus) are being turned down for those loans.  And utility companies and lenders just don’t care.

What follows below is the story of one state employee who did her best to take control of her situation, but was shot down at every turn.  It is not my story, and the only editing done was to remove personally-identifying information and to clearly mark some sections.  My comments will be [bracketed in bold & italics].

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AFSCME TV Commercial

For your weekend viewing pleasure, check out this 1970s-era AFSCME commercial.  Note that the audio is not work- or child-safe, but it’s well worth the watch.  The narration is obviously fake, but you know what?  If AFSCME really did speak with even half this conviction, we’d all be in better places right now.


PS – if anyone has a link to the original commercial, which I believe was part of their “If I Could” campaign, I’d love to see it.

Is Your Paycheck Short?

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

If you are a state employee whose paycheck is short due to the budget impasse, you should contact the US Department of Labor immediately and file a complaint.  They can be reached at 570-826-6316 (Wilkes-Barre), 215-597-4950 (Philadelphia), or 412-395-4996 (Pittsburgh).  I suggest not calling during your scheduled working hours.  Either take personal time to file your complaint or, if that’s not possible, do so on your lunch break or before or after work.

Judicial interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act says that you must be paid in full on your regular payday.  Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (49 U.S. 528 (1985)) established that government employees are covered under the FLSA.  And contrary to what the Rendell administration (and AFSCME) are saying, the Court did not say that the state constitution overrules federal law (read the decision for yourself right here).

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PA Budget Impasse: Ten Things

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

With no budget in place as of 5:30 this evening, it’s looking less and less likely that one will be passed in time to avoid paycheck interruption.  Put simply, we’re about to go over the edge.  If it’s any comfort, remember that there are 70,000 of us all the same boat.  You are not alone.

I wanted to make this post because there is a tremendous amount of bad information floating around out there about what employees should and should not do when the paychecks stop.  Just remember that I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.  This is merely my opinion.  What you ultimately choose to do or not do is entirely up to you.  I take no responsibility for your actions.

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