Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition

(NOTE: This is a three-part series on the Pennsylvania budget impasse.  Be sure to also read part 2 and part 3!)

In what has become an annual tradition since 2003, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has announced that, once again, our state government appears unable to pass a budget by the June 30th deadline.  If this budget remains unresolved, state employees will be required to report to work, but will not be paid until a budget is passed.  The silence from AFSCME — the union which all state employees are required to pay into, regardless of membership, and whom is supposed to help out with this sort of thing — is deafening.

If you’re thinking “Hah, I don’t work for the state, so this doesn’t affect me at all”, you’re dead wrong.

It’s been said by some that the Pennsylvania Wage Payment & Collection Act does not apply to government employees.  I vaguely recall seeing something to this effect in the Act, so I’ll give that the benefit of the doubt.  But another law certainly does apply: the Fair Labor Standards Act.  As a federal law, it automatically trumps whatever state law exists.

Governor Rendell says that in a recent decision, the court held that the FLSA does not trump the state constitution.  This is misleading; the actual decision says that the FLSA does not trump that section of the state constitution because there is no conflict between the two.  For a more detailed explanation of the lawsuit, click here.

According to the US Department of Labor, who is generally up on these kinds of things, the FLSA says that wages are due on the regular payday for the period in question.  And there’s plenty of court precedent to back this up:

  • The US Supreme Court case Brooklyn Savings Bank v O’Neil (324 US 697 (1945)) stated an employer’s obligation to pay minimum wage on time, to make “prompt payment”, for payment of “overdue wages”, and that delayed payment is actionable.
  • United States v Klinghoffer Bros. Realty Corp (285 F.2d 487, 491 (2d Cir. 1960)) states that after paying overdue wages, an employer is still liable for damages prescribed under the FLSA.
  • Atlantic Co v Broughton (146 F.2d 480, 482 (5 th Cir. 1944)) states that an employer who does not pay minimum wage plus overtime on “any regular pay date” is immediately liable for the wages in question plus an equal amount in liquidated damages.
  • Rogers v City of Troy (949 F. Supp. 118, 123 (N.D.N.Y. 1996)) states that failure to pay at least minimum wage on the regular payday permits a claim under the FLSA.

You get the point.  And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.  The court cases go on and on, to say nothing of the administrative opinions.  Federal law can not possibly be any clearer:  If you work, you must be paid, and you must be paid on time.  There are no exceptions. For the state to require us to work while delaying our paychecks is illegal.

Even if you’re not a state employee, you should pay close attention to this case.  The FLSA provides for massive liquidated damages — up to $10,000 per violation, in addition to wages due — for violations.  Imagine the cost to taxpayers if 90,000 Civil Service employees filed suit against the State Civil Service Commission for $10,000 a piece.  That’s almost one billion dollars in fines and court costs, to say nothing of the black eye this would give Pennsylvania.  And that’s assuming that we only miss one pay period.  What if we miss a whole month?  What if we miss five?

Pennsylvania taxpayers are going to have to pick up the tab for our governor’s and legislators’ utter failure at doing their jobs.  I don’t accept the legislators’ claim that “it’s the governor’s fault” any more than I accept Rendell’s claim that “it’s the legislators’ fault”.  If either side had a comprehensive budget that actually worked, I can certainly guarantee that it would be plastered up everywhere.  Publishing a workable budget would be a nuclear option against a stalling governor (or legislature), yet despite assurances from all sides that “ours works”, nobody has put forth anything.  So far, the website for the General Assembly is silent on the matter, as is the governor’s.

Anyone who pays taxes in Pennsylvania — regardless of who they’re employed by — needs to contact their senator, their representative, and their governor immediately.  Demand that they put forth a viable budget.  If they say “we already have”, ask them for a copy.  And ask them why they can’t work with “the other side” to figure things out.

Ed Rendell is already on his way out the door.  Maybe it’s time to flush the legislature again.

EDIT: Oops, AFSCME is not the only state employee’s union.  But it’s the largest.  And their official stance is ” … “.  Thanks, guys.  Glad to see my $40 / month “contribution” is doing anything.

EDIT 2: There’s been talk about whether or not state employees are covered under the FLSA.  They are, period.  See Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)).  I am not a lawyer, but the pile of evidence that Pennsylvania is about to commit a major violation of federal law is quickly growing from “noteworthy” to “staggering”.

162 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition”

  1. Not all state workers are in afscme. PSCOA has ready ( so they claim ) a FLSA lawsuit for liquid damages.
    Great site.

  2. Thanks – do you happen to have a link to a story about PSCOA’s potential lawsuit? I can’t find anything on their website.

  3. my husband gets sci lau local newsletter in his e-mail and they have a message from the president of the pscoa union, try looking on pscoa.org

  4. well what the hell lets just close down the state… letthe prisons open… let the hospitals close… let the police go home… that way when our trioops come home then they truely can defend our homeland……come on people…. what do yoiu think.

  5. I agree with you. Why should state employees have to show up to work with out pay. If they would let the prisons, hospitals, state police go. They would see how much this budget needs passed. But then again as long as they get paid I sure thet don’t care.

  6. I plan on suing if I don’t get paid. Many of us are talking about it. We have mouths to feed and bills to pay and depend on our paychecks. AFSCME has said nothing and seems to be okay with us not getting paid on time. I am sure we can find a lawyer willing to take a case like this pro bono.

  7. we should take a bus full of inmates and drop them off at slick eddie’s house and let him watch them for a few days. we have been going through this every year since he took office.he killed philly and now the state. he says we all must take it on the chin, but does eddie? Im sure he will make up some law where he will keep getting payed! do they forget its our tax money they are spending? we need to start voting them out!!!!!!!!!!!!!afscme is in bed with the state vote, them out too!

  8. On Weekend appointment with Karl Rominger
    The question came up. State workers might be exempted under federal law. However, he recommended to file a complaint with the Fed’s and let them figure it out.

    Also I am hearing talk about everybody call in sick on 7/22.

  9. Ilove this. I know that if we owe money to the state that they get it and if it’s not on time wepay penalties and fees. The state (thanks Ed, YOU BIG NINNY, I didn’t vote for you) does not thinkthat we shouldbe compensated for them not paying us on time. Go ahead, call your creditors, everyone you owe money to. Some may work with you, most may give you a month grace period. After that,well, penalties and late fees. I find it hard to have faith in a state governor, legislators and the rest of the “leaders” that are in our state government when this happens every year. I really want to know what happened to the “slush” fund Ed was putting together last year. Supervising crooks in jail is one thing but having one in charge of our state is a total travesty.

  10. I would recommend very strongly against simply not going to work. It’s a lot easier to take our complaints seriously when we’re there every day doing our jobs regardless of circumstance. If everybody calls off, then we’re no longer 100% “in the right” ourselves.

  11. I can’t even begin to imagine how many cops will sit and do nothing. Blue flu is in order. Way to go Eddie, hope your house gets robbed instead of some poor sap. I’m not doing squat when the budget impasse kicks, in fact I feel a bit feverish right now, anyone else feeling sick? Is it the Swine Flu, allergies, food poisoning? I don’t know what it is, but I will be the sickest I’ve ever been on July 22nd. It might take weeks to recover (or at least until I get paid). I get paid the same for a sick day as I do if I show up for work. Don’t know about the rest of you but since I plan on doing nothing at work, I might as well sit at home and do nothing.

  12. Latest rumor is that fat Eddie may not pass a budget until Labor Day. I don’t know about you, but I can’t go that long without a paycheck!!

  13. I sure hope that this gets passed, but rest assured, if there is some kind of a lawsuit, I’ll definitely be a party to it. I’ve only worked for the state for a few years, but every year that I have worked for the state, every single summer they talk about how the budget isn’t going to pass. I don’t know of anybody else in a job like most of us have (typical office worker type job) that have to worry about not being paid on time every single freaking summer. This is absolutely ridiculous. Even when I worked for Circuit City (years ago, and yes, they sucked, and no, I wasn’t a bad employee that still worked there after they turned retarded) at least they paid me on time, even if the boss was stupid and couldn’t meet the store’s budget.

  14. I will participate in any lawsuit as well! And am quite frustrated that AFSCME is leaving us as much in the dark as the government. I went to college, I got a degree, and I chose to take a state job. I passed up some other careers with a more lucrative pay scale, so that I would have the same schedule every week. I wasn’t aware that I was signing up for something like this! And why is it that just because I’m working for the state as a government employee, that there is no agency that protects me? Why am I being treated as a second class citizen. Why when I work, am I not guaranteed a paycheck?

  15. I’m told by a friend who used to work for the State that some years back they went without pay for 6 weeks while our fearless leaders try to negotiate fiscal agreement. At that time, the State enacted some sort of rule that State Workers are not able to sue the State in State courts. So filing a complaint with the Feds may be the only way to go.

    My husband, the State employee in our house, stopped in at our State Senators office yesterday to inquire where they are at with the process. He also asked if they, too, go without pay during an impasse. He was told yes but I certainly don’t believe that! If they were going without pay they would have enough skin in the game to get the thing signed on time. My husband was told that our Senator is committed to keeping the office informed of the status…however the only status the office had was that they are working on it, while I would like know precisely what the contentious items are that might hold up signature.

    When my husband inquired why it is that every year this debacle occurs since it’s not like the June 30 date is a surprise to any of them, he was told that the problem is that every year the budget is presented to the legislature so late. Well gee guys and gals in charge. Wouldn’t a simple process change alleviate all this angst? How about if we simply REQUIRE the Office of Budget and the Governor to present the budget to the legislature by April Fools Day??? Geez. That they haven’t thought of this on their own tells me SOMEBODY doesn’t WANT to present it early enough to hash things out. SOMEBODY (ED!) wants to hold the employees salaries hostage and use them as leverage to get as much of what they want as possible.

  16. I’m stocking up on ammo. maybe i will be able to git me a possum to feed my family with. This is just sad!!!!

  17. My father, a state manager, did some research on this subject. Actually, FLSA doesn’t “trump the state constitution” because the law of the land in PA came from a decision by Commonwealth Court in August 2008 (No 322 M.D. 2008). In her decision Judge Leavitt emphatically stated that FLSA doesn’t trump the state constitution, but she also warned that under FLSA non-exempt state employees (generally excluding management) can sue in Federal or State Court for damages if pays are delayed.

    The judge ruled that Rendell had 3 alternatives after June 30th. If he chose keeping employees at work without pay he risked being sued under FLSA. She declined to intervene in the governors decision because it was a political decision outside the purview of the court.

    Liquidated damages under FLSA include 2 times the financial damages (delayed wages) and reasonable legal fees and court costs. My father believes Rendell would defend his decision on Federal constituional provisions involving state rights.

    Individuals who miss pays ought to contact a labor lawyer and start a class action suit.

  18. I am a member of SEIU, and they too have been stunningly silent on this work for no pay. The only union with any guts is PSCOA. I work with PSCOA members, and they know how to stand together with their members. AFCSME shot themselves in the foot here with their “non-essentials” lawsuit. At least before , “essentials” got paid regardless of a budget impasse and “non-essentials” could collect unemployment! Now no one gets a check. Thanks AFCSME. And Thanks PSSU, SEIU for you silence. GO PSCOA!!

  19. Kelly, Thank you! I appreciate the benefit of knowing the results of your father’s research. Please thank him for doing the research!

    However, just to be certain I have just emailed the Federal Dept Of Labor from their FLSA website. My inquiry explains the Rendell plan if there is not an agreement reached and inquires if State Government employees are exempt from the Act’s provisions that employers must pay employees on time. I’ll be sure to post what their response is. If anybody else would like to inquire, here’s the link. Feel free to email. They also list the numbers for the local District Offices representing DOL in case you prefer to call them. http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/contact_us.htm

  20. just realized another problem. I like a lot of you have child support orders. We are obligated to pay. When we do get paid in two months or better, the money will be deducted from our pay. The state has a court order. But we will be defaulted and classified as a deadbeat father. If we go ahead and make a payment, during the impasse, the result will be a double payment. Domestic Relations will never refund the money. I have been trying since December to get reimbursed for an overpayment of $150.00.

    Eddie has control over public welfare. What is he going to do for hard working state employees? NOTHING

  21. I can’t even comment on this matter, I came to work for the state with the understanding its secure and I may retire from this job. But how crazy is it that we will not be paid! I just cant think about it.. I am a single mother of 2 with a mortgage and it was hard enough to keep afloat with income, without pay I will be drawning and may lose my house have my electric shut off and I have to come to work?! but still figure out how to pay for my child care??..

    I’m already looking for another job I cant live like this and I cant put my lively hood in the hands of these people!

    I wish everyone luck with this Impasse!

  22. So folks, yesterday I sent a little email off to the good folks at the Department of Labor in Washington and inquired of them as to whether or not State Employees are exempt from the provisions of the FLSA relative to timely payment of payroll.

    They told me that employers are required to pay on payday. They also referred me to the Wilkes Barre district office as it is they who are responsible for the enforcement of Wage and Hour aspects of the Act (among other enforcement areas)and they kindly provided me with the phone number.

    I called and spoke with a woman who was very helpful. IF the state does not pass a budget and IF a payday goes by without pay, she says they are in violation of the FLSA. It does not matter, she says, that these are State Government Employees. It does not matter that the State DOL has said it’s ok for them to stick it to us or the State Court has told Boss Hogg to have his way with our lives. Federal Law takes precedence over State Law where the Act is concerned relative to this topic. She went on to say that several State Employees have called in about this and have spoken with the Assistant Director who told them the very same things she was telling me. There is no pro-active intervention they can take…they must wait till the State is in violation, however, if a payday comes and there is no pay we shall call the Wilkes Barre office and they will see about handling it and perhaps involving the Secretaries office.

    I thought this was all good news and feel hopeful. I’m also pleased that at least the Federal folks are already alerted in case this isn’t just more political posturing and poker playing.

  23. Robin,

    Hi, I am Kelly’s dad from the post on June 20, 2009. I want to explain on additional point about seeking damages under FLSA. Non-exempt FLSA workers that have the Secretary of Labor intervene in their behalf will lose the ability to sue independently.

    As Judge Leavitt opined, FLSA doesn’t trump the state constitution, however, following the state constitution doesn’t excuse the employer from damages. You also don’t need a union to act in your behalf. You can sue as an individual. I think any labor lawyer would take the case in a heart beat.

  24. Thanks, Robin. Good stuff! With AFSCME providing no useful information whatsoever (“We’re fighting for you!”), it’s good to see some actual, hard information.

    Kelly / Kelly’s dad, thanks for your input. You’d spot-on about having to wait for a missed paycheck — otherwise, no violation has occurred. I do believe I’d sue individually, and I have to review the AFSCME contract to see if there’s any sort of binding arbitration clause that covers this. I’ve asked AFSCME directly, but of course, they did not reply.

  25. I guess the problem in my simple mind regarding suing in court is this: Lawyer’s usually like retainers. You might find some who will take it on a contingency basis but you’ll look for a bit. With no pay coming in it’s going to be hard for folks to come up with retainer money. It’s not the most important concern I have, however.

    While twice the amount for damages for every single state employee, as he calculates his percent of the take, might be quite attractive to some lawyer, the amount of time it will take to get it into Federal court, heard, argued and appealed is generally going to far exceed the fiscal bandwidth built into the budgets of most civil servants. Let’s face it. State employees are not all that well paid. Many families will go under while the politicos fart around, posture and otherwise hold the employees hostage to be used as chips to ante up, up up and away with. Meanwhile, if the Secretery intervenes and is able to negotiate (or force) payday, nobody has damages, nobody goes under, kids don’t go hungry, kids don’t get kicked out of daycares that mom can’t pay for because she’s not being paid and it’s win win. I’d gladly forego damages to get resolution if that’s what it comes to!

    Something tells me that when the President is looking out with a dim view of the antics of bad boy CEO’s he ought to include some governors in his perusal of who is or isn’t performing acceptably. By his own definition on his website, Fast Eddy says he is the CEO of the state. Well guess what. The CEO that ran the company I worked for into the ground didn’t mess with my paycheck like Boss Hogg Eddy does to you guys year after year.

    Robin

    PS…given what most State Employees earn, twice a little is still not very much, particularly when the lawyer skims the cream off the top!

  26. Has anyone else heard that the inmates in the state institutions will continue to get their pay(you know the .18 cents an hour they get to do nothing or possibly the .42 cents an hour they get if they have “jobs”? We wouldn’t want the inmates to have to go without their basic needs that they buy from the commissary, right? Well, what about all of us who have kids to feed and mortgages to pay?

  27. I would really like to know what is going on in Harrisburg. I’m one of those “funny state employees”. I work for a federally mandated, federally funded state agency, and I too got the email from my personel department saying I might not get paid. My question is if the Feds are sending money to Harrisburg to pay wage, were’s that money going???

  28. Q. How do employees pay their FLSA lawyers?

    A. This is between the individual employees and the lawyers. Many FLSA lawyers will take FLSA cases on some variation of a “contingency fee.” This usually means that the employees pay no legal fees unless and until they win the case, and then fees are based on a percentage of the amount recovered. Successful FLSA plaintiffs are entitled to an attorneys’ fee award from the employer in addition to any other recovery (like in civil rights cases).

  29. Correct me if I’m wrong, Joe, but what you basically said was that employees could sue their employers for back wages, damages, AND recovery of legal costs.

    In other words, if a consumer is worried about how they can pay a lawyer, the answer is “they may not have to”.

  30. I hear everyone’s concern. My husband has worked for the state for 20 years and they’re are new guys making as much as him thanks to wage freezes and step freezes. We are raising 4 children and 2 grandchildren and ever since Rendell got into office, it has been a struggle. His comment in the Post made me irate. He says he won’t sign the budget unless he gets what he wants and he doesn’t care if it takes all summer. If it takes all summer, I am taking my family and sleeping on his lawn. He can figure out how to feed and house all of us, because by the time he’s done we may lose everything.

  31. @Stacy – Yes, the Welfare office will be open and we will still continue to hand out benefits. Imagine how difficult that is going to be for those of us who work there. We are required to come to work everyday and be professional. We must issue benefits such as Food Stamps with flimsy verification most times. As a matter of fact you can get up to 1 1/2 months worth of food stamps if you fill out an application and wait to be seen. If you have ID and have your story together – you will get them – often times that day – with no proof of anything.

    BTW – there were many employees in my CAO (County Assistance Office) that found out today that PSECU’s Budget Impasse loan is just like any other loan. You need good credit to qualify for it. (There was NOTHING in any of the literature they have been passing around about this). At least a dozen employees were turned down today in my office alone. So those of you expecting to get by with PSECU’s help best check into it before you count on it.

  32. Stacy,

    There are issues with getting FS (now called SNAP) and Cash Assistance. For most if the budget goes into August it should be no problem getting SNAP benefits unless the budget settles and it can be reasonably anticipated that you won’t get paid in August.

    For cash assistance it is more complicated. If you have children under 18 living with you, then you could qualify for TANF. There is a program called Diversion that may benefit people state employees the most, but there are resource limits.

    If you don’t have children as described above, chances are cash assistance will be less likely. It is harder to qualify. But anyone who doesn’t get paid should file and application.

    Living on public assistance will meet the most basic needs, but the job it will do to credit scores by not being able to pay your bills will be the most devastating consequence of protracted payless paydays.

  33. A lot of employees will most likely qualify for Food Stamps (or SNAP if you prefer) if their second pay in July is short, provided they have more than themselves in the household. (And no other adult has income). Gross income limits can be found here http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ServicesPrograms/FoodStamps/
    Bear in mind that, by law, a decision on a food stamp application must be made within 31 days. If you are applying in an area that is already overwhelmed with FS applications like Philly, Pittsburgh, DelCo, it could take that long to authorize benefits. Also bear in mind that it is traditional that supervisors handle applications coming in from other DPW workers or their immediate families. (These are called confidential cases).
    For Diversion or TANF (if you have a dependent child under 18 or a disabled child, still in HS, under 19) you very likely will not qualify until August. Understand that TANF for 4 people is only $498 a month (give or take a little bit depending on county). I am not overly familiar with Diversion as I work in intake and in our County it is the TANF unit that handles Diversion. I do know that the most you can get on Diversion is 1 lump check that is 3 times the normal monthly amount you would get on TANF.
    For General Assistance (if you do not have dependent children) you pretty much need to be disabled and without income. That is $205/month (depending on County).
    So if this goes into August, most employees can get cash assistance. Starting with the July 17 paycheck, most could get FS. However, I already talked to PECO and Aqua (Electric/Gas & Water Companies). They won’t take Food Stamps for my bill. I haven’t called WaMu yet but I am pretty sure they won’t take FS for the mortgage either.

  34. Is there anything set up for state employees to get together and unite against the impass? A proactive stance and legal representation would show that we will not allow Rendell to use us once again. Obvioulsy money talks and if we can get an FLSA Lawyer to represent us, then at least we’ll have the comfort of knowing that we may be compensated for our suffering… I surely would be sweet to know that we were also making Rendell as nervous as he’s been making us…

  35. Chris, yes. Your union is supposed to represent you in times like these. However, my union — AFSCME — has done exactly squat. Zero. Nada. And so far, all they’ve said is “we’re working for you” and “here’s an unemployment guide”.

    AFSCME forces everyone to pay dues, whether you’re a member or not. It’s dumbfounding how useless they’re being.

  36. We need to get rid of AFSCME as our representatives just like the correction officers did. AFSCME has not represented us for many years now. As earlier posted , they sleep with the politicians. We still pay even though we are unhappy with them (unhappy is an understatement). To drop out, you still have to pay. Sweet deal for AFSCME; they get our money whether we belong or not and they don’t have to work for us. But how to make that happen, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I know that would be a huge undertaking, but I’d sure like to see that happen. You wouldn’t continue to pay a lawyer, doctor, contractor, etc. who wasn’t providing good service, right? Yet, we continue to pay AFSCME for poor to none services.

  37. SEIU isn’t much better. They were approached last week when it became known that a lot of employees were not going to qualify for this Budget Impasse Loan with PSECU. They haven’t said a word. Additionally, they are currently pushing this health care reform that sounds more like socialized medicine than anything. Someone rather high up in the union was overheard a few months back saying that they were close to retirement and really only worried about getting their pension.

  38. It is time to hold our legislators accountable. Turn off the air conditioners, install sandwich machines, close restaurants and cafeterias til budget is passed. What cuts are the legislators and governor making to help pass the budget? I do believe they have rooom for cuts. It is time to cut or totally stop all their perks. Let them pay for their own transportations, no more perks, reimbursements and free ride.

  39. I don’t know aout any of the rest of you, but the very first day our paycheck is short and the budget is unsigned I am calling the Wilkes Barre office of DOL to lodge a complaint. If enough do I suspect they will be unable to close eyes to the noise.

  40. @Robin or anyone who might know:
    Our first missed payday, couldn’t we file with DOL for back wages?

  41. Theresa and other SEIU members. Myself and a few other members from my jail are exploring a private class action law suit concerning the budget impasse. We are getting a copy of the PSCOA’s class action as a template then we plan on plugging in the names of individuals interested. Just wondering if there is any interest statewide to get on board with this??

    We are talking about attempting to change our union representation as well. We are exploring lodging a formal complaint due to lack of representation/ Use of Union funds supporting specific political parties and candidates without a union wide vote to decide who the members would like to support. I think the oversight for the SEIU is the PA Labor Relations Board and the guiding document is PERA. The site is http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/cwp/view.asp?a=136&Q=66181. Any SEIU union members interested I would love to here from you.

  42. Herb, are they suing in Federal Court under the FLSA or are they suing in State court?

    You know…Boss is well familiar with the ramifications of the FLSA and what the state emmployees are able to do under it…after all, his wife is a Federal Judge. Therefore, he either doesn’t give a hoot, or he plans not to hold out as long as he says, or he figures we wouldn’t get anywhere for a long time and by then they’ll have it settled.

    And yes, Charlene, you would call the DOL on the FIRST payday in which there was not a paycheck to complain to them. It would be the Wilkes Barre District Office of Wage and Hour and if you email me I will give you their telephone number.

  43. I agree with all the talk of AFSCME and their ‘lack of’ representation of members. Their pockets are as fat as Big Ed’s. I was a union official for years and attended their ‘educational weekends’ and ‘international conventions’ and other functions. What they spend in a weekend would feed half the affected members & their families for a week or better. The fact remains though… if there is no budget we are faced with ‘payless paydays’ and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. We can blog and complain all we want and nothing will change the fact that we may not get paid! Bills won’t be paid, vacations will be cancelled, children will go without the little ‘extras’ summer vacation brings… there will be no money coming in to cover necessary expenses… never mind the fact we’ve been ordered to go to work each and every day and pretend as though all is well. I’m wondering where I will get the gas money to even get to work! As far as sick days… either way you won’t be paid whether you go to work or not so why deplete your sick bank and make it harder for those that do go to work? I work in one of PA’s jails… the thought I may get mandated to cover for the worker that takes sick time infuriates me more than I can explain in a public forum. I’m not going to be paid for the first 8 hours and will be expected to put in another 8 because someone with no work ethics doesn’t feel like coming in?? Please! We’re all upset about this! Our unions don’t do squat to represent us! None of them! We pay our dues because we have no choice but to be members. But that doesn’t mean we have to screw our coworkers like they do. Times will be tough for everyone… the single parents, the child support/alimony paying parents, the one income families, the two state income families (like us), EVERYONE! If we stoop to the levels of the people around us we’ll only make things worse for ourselves in the end. I refuse to let them get the best of me… where there’s a will there’s a way!

  44. Good point, Nurse – even though we’ll likely win any lawsuits as this is a very black-and-white violation of the FLSA, we all still have interim bills to pay and expenses to meet. The real problem is that our legislature and governor have failed us. They say they’re “not stopping until the budget is done”, but I wonder how many are going home tonight. How many are going to have trouble paying their mortgage? How many won’t be able to make their car payments? How many aren’t going to be able to eat?

  45. Here is an interesting article in today’s paper in Lancaster. It covers who does and does not get paid in the legislature.

    http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/239374

    Additionally, last week in the CNN Financial News that the Boss is prepared to “cancel his African Safari scheduled for August if the budget is not resolved by then”. Nice eh?

    Nurse, please plan to contact Wilkes Barre DOL to lodge a FLSA complaint on the very first day that you are not paid. The only thing I can see that will move them to cover wages is if the Federal Government steps in and “encourages” it.

  46. Has anyone leaked to the media that there is a possibility for state employees to sue over non payment of wages costing tax payers more money than the small tax increase proposed by the “Boss”. Without disruption of services why should the gerneral public care if state employees gat paid or not. Other than showing how it would hit the already stretched wallet!

  47. I saw an artical that AFSCME filed a lawsuit with the commonwealth court and it was ruled the federal law did not apply to state workers. they are appealing to state supreme court who are out of session until sept.

  48. Herb – feel free to contact me. mtlandis@yahoo.com

    I really hate when people say they are representing me and then don’t. I don’t ask for much – a fair wage, decent working conditions, reasonable medical benefits. I also expect that a union I pay dues to cares about my struggles and has at least a suggestion for me.

  49. Yes you are correct…. though why shoudnt the welfare clan get cut tooo????? Also…. I wish RD employees and himself should be encluded and not get a pay check. Boo for me living paycheck to paycheck, what about them? Living the fat life.

  50. Thank you Robin. I did see the offices listed on the DOL website. Funny thing, I’m from a different area than all of you. I searched for info regarding the Budget (info was slim to none) and came up with this posting site. I’m actually from Pittsburgh. This site has been a source of comfort for me. While some comments suggest that posting does nothing for our situation, it helps to know that there are others out there with the same frustrations as me, same impending hardships. And it’s good to communicate and vent with other like-minded people at a time like this. Who knows what good ideas (some already suggested)we may, as a group, come up with. And Nurse, you are right. I used to work in a State Hosp. I know well and agree with your opinion on calling off sick. Perhaps it would be a good first step (to fight back) to all call, in mass, the DOL on the first missed payday. That might get someone’s attention. We all could pass the word to our co-workers to do this. A few don’t make a difference, but many can. Imagine if we could pull this off throughout the State! At least our voices would be heard. Herb has the right idea to keep the ball rolling by suggesting SEIU follow in PSCOA’s footsteps. This is the way we fight back.

  51. Charlene
    Thank you for your support is your union filing a class action on behalf of it’s members? What union do you belong to?

    Theresa
    I sent you an email with some updates and suggestions. Thanks for your interest : )

  52. Robin
    I’m not sure about who the PSCOA is suing through I’m still working on getting my hands on a copy of class action law suit.

  53. Charlene – I am not from the Harrisburg area. I am actually from the SE corner of the State – Delaware County (outside Philadelphia).

    I certainly plan to make a call as soon as my pay is short or missed. By my calculations, my July 17th pay will only be for 2 days.

  54. why is it the inmates will continue to be paid while the law abbiding citizens who work at the prisions are getting the shaft. inmates are paid by the state, or does that come out of fast eddies mob account?

  55. Here’s another perspective on that. My husband works for Corrections. Most don’t care that the inmates will get their pay. They only make 19 cents a hour. Importantly, it keeps the status quo with the inmates if they continue to get paid. Correction Officers don’t want an inmate uprising (riot, fights, whatever) because inmates don’t get paid. They’d rather let them have their 19 cents per hour than have to worry about getting shanked over it. I am more inclined to be bothered that Welfare receipents will receive my tax payer funded benefits while I don’t get paid. Bet they’d settle that budget mighty quick if Welfare wasn’t being paid out.

  56. “When the Court confirmed Congress’ power to regulate the wage and hour standards applicable to employees of state and local governments, a different, more conservative Congress than the ones that had extended the FLSA to governmental employees in the first place now confronted the complaints from local governments that the Act was too inflexible and expensive to comply with. Congress responded by amending the Act in 1985, allowing governments to offer compensatory time off rather than overtime in some circumstances, creating an exemption for volunteers and excluding certain legislative employees from coverage under the Act. The Act also erased liabilities owed to employees who would not have been covered by the Act as interpreted by the Department of Labor’s regulations prior to the Court’s decision.”

    This was taken from wikipedia….

    So we need to find those pesky post Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)) amendments….
    __________________
    Karl Rominger, Esq.
    717-241-6070
    karl@rominger.com

    I am going to contact a local attorney to see if she will take the case. I will post the response on this site.

  57. To get immediate action, don’t send out those welfare checks that take up 37% of our budget.
    I guarantee you they would be hearing about it.

  58. I am just wondering where is the oversite? Who oversees our politicians? Where is all the casino money going? Why did the “SPOT” go out of business. I am infuriated. 12 years with the state, so much waste. Half of the budget at my last position was wasted on people who didn’t do a damn thing. Those people who actually worked carried a huge load, and got stressed out. How did the Delloite thing get swept under the rug, it never made the TV news, just the news papers. How much money are we spending on IBM. Eddie talks out of both sides of his mouth. He said that the state workers are doing more withless. What doesn’t show is how much money is given to the big contracts with IBM and Delloite. That money would be better suited in the pockets of state workers. The money would be spent in PA.. Fat Eddie is a common street thug, and he needs to step down. We all need to band together and march on the capitol. Don’t know about you, but with the rising cost of everything, and not getting a raise for six years with this clown behind the wheel, I am struggling, and cannot afford one pay period to be missed. I have worked my a$$ off with the state, have saved them lots of money with the applications I have written, and what thanks do I get? No pay. Count me in for the civil suit.

  59. Herb I am sure that may DOC nurses are willing to throw SEIU out. At least at my faciity we are with you

  60. Heres something not being brought to public eye.The child support for the children is being taken from parents pays per the court order,but its not being released for the children until the budget is resolved. So for my household theres $700 i lost until this is resolved.And how is that right,but its being done.You can check this by going to the pa child support website check both sides it says it in red if you are paying and if you are receiveing.

  61. @c.crisanti, I just checked the site and it now says: “Child support payments may be delayed from Commonwealth-employed defendants during the State budget impasse. When the budget is passed, support is to be deducted for the time period missed.” It’s possible that they had a mistake up before, and have now fixed it. If they were collecting but not distributing, that would be an egregious injustice.

  62. just joining the site here and I am very frustrated. the state considers groups like HR analysts (pay scale 4)and staff development as management. I didn’t get an increment in Jan or the raise of July and am told I won’t be getting the nice 2010 raise and 2010 increment. As the union members go forward, I have been going backward. A yr ago I was level 12 and looking forward to being a level 16 when I retire in three yrs. If I was in the union I would be. Instead I will getting the pay equal to a level 8. Fast Eddie has screwed with the rest of my life. I am trying to just stay afloat with all the rising costs and now we probably won’t get paid for who knows how long. 32 yrs with the state and we are treated like some overpaid govenor -no wait- he is getting paid isn’t he – at least from the mob! I can’t even go and get a temporary job this summer because I am essential and have to work without the prospect of a timely pay. I can’t collect unemployment because I am working. I can lose my house and have higher interest rates on credit cards because I don’t have the money to pay on time. Add to that-I will have less money than expected for the rest of my life. I am just thrilled with this job. where do I sign up for a class action suit?

  63. PA state inmates will continue to get paid and welfare recipients will continue to draw benefits. How, in their right minds, can they not justify paying it’s state employees? AFSME filed a lawsuit last year that barred all essential employees from being paid during an impasse. After doing this, they show up at the institution trying to get H-1 employees to oust the PSCOA. Hopefully, this federal law suit will be filed and Big Ed will have to pay for what he’s done every year he’s been in office.

  64. I work in corrections. I care if the inmate’s get paid. I would rather they NOT since I’m not. There’s no safety issue with C.O.s. They can put the entire jail on lockdown and feed in their cells if they thought it was a safety issue.

    Take 1 free postage envelope off every inmate statewide and $1.00 out of every welfare check and we’d have a surplus instead of a deficit.

    When you have more people on welfare than at work, who do you think the politicians are going to cater to? The people on welfare of course – they’ll get lots of votes, right?

    If it were possible to transfer to another state, I would seriously consider it.

  65. Herb,

    Please consider including the Forensic RN’s at Norristown, Torrence, and Warren State Hospitals. We work with security employees represented by PSCOA and see the difference a strong union with bold leadership can make. I’ve already had discussions at my facility and believe there would be strong interest.

  66. PSCOA NEEDS TO HAVE AN INFORMATIONAL PICKET AND GET ALL THE OTHER UNIONS INVOLVED. THIS WHOLE THING IS CRAP OLA. I HAVE A MORGAGE TALKED TO SOME CREDITORS AND THE RESPONSE WAS ITS NOT MY PROBLEM PAY OR BE CHARGED. MY QUESTION IS CAN I SUE FOR DAMAGES TO MY CREDIT? CAN I HOLD THE GOVERMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR RUINING MY CREDIT? MOST PEOPLE ARE PAY TO PAY. NOT GOING TO WORK, THAT IS NOT THE ANSWERE.WE NEED TO BE PISSED OFF AND GET ON THIS BEFORE IT HAPPENS AGAIN.

    I WAS WITH AFSCME AND THEY WOULD NOT FILE A GRIEVANCE BUT INSTEAD WOULD SETTLE WITH OUT THE MEMBERS OK. PSCOA RAN WITH A WALK TIME GRIEVANCE THAT AFSCME SAID COULD NOT BE WON AND GUESS WHAT THEY WON. PSCOA RUN A STATE WIDE INFORMATIONAL PICKET AND GET IT TOGETHER BEFORE THE NO PAY DAY JULY 24TH.

    THEY ARE ALL AT HOME AND DO NOT CARE ABOUT THIS BUDGET THEY TOOK A FOUR DAY WEEKEND.

  67. Paul, from what I’ve read, compensatory or punitive damages are difficult to win in an FLSA suit. It seems like liquidated damages are the only type to get awarded. But this is an area where you should definitely consult with a lawyer.

  68. Oobviously, nothing new on the budget. Monday morning we should flood the governor’s office and legislators with phone calls. Perhaps with all their political BS, and all the benefits they have, they forgot who pays their wages.

  69. Can we all ditch afscme and just join PSCOA? I’m pretty sure they at least have a freaking backbone……

  70. Kelly, You mentioned that a suit could be filed by non-exempt employees, excluding management. I am Junior Management, as low as you can get, and make less than most Union members. I don’t understand why anyone would think that I don’t need my raises or pay! What recourse do I have? I am just as outraged and disgusted as everyone else and will take it one step further. When you get your back pay it will include a raise-mine will only include a higher tax bracket in which to take more taxes.

    When I was hired by the state, I elected fair share with AFSCME and was looked down on for doing so. I never thought they were worth my dues and I still don’t. Union members should take a good look at what they are paying for in relation to the service they receive. I was told that I wouldn’t have the pay I did if it weren’t for the Unions. Is that their only function? Raises? I haven’t heard a union rep yet that has been able to provide me with what exactly the Union does for it’s members. They agreed to the new SPF program without paying attention to the fine details. As long as they can show you the money, they think you are grateful and not smart enough to see how they have hung you out to dry. Wake up members!

  71. in reguards to an oversite for the elected officials of the state, We are the oversite, The People. They are supposed to work for us and somewhere along the line alot of them forgot this. If they stop being the voice and
    Will of the people they represent, then they must go. We the people must make informed desisions when we are at the voting booth and hold them accountable for the desisions they make, PERIOD. they must forget party lines and agendas and not forget who they work for, The People.

  72. I don’t understand why we have to continue going to work and expected to have a good attitude about doing so. Enough is enough already. This is like telling a little child, “just wait til your father gets home” and you panic and wait, panic and wait!!!!

    I don’t appreciate the “NICE” little emails we get from Harrisburg telling us that benefits won’t be stopped and clients won’t go without their benefits. WHY when we are!!

    I also don’t appreciate the “NICE” little emails being told to stop telling the clients to call the Govenor’s Office and Headquarters when they question about their benefits. I understand that the clients are depending on their benefits – just as we do our paychecks, but just imagine on payment day when benefits were supposed to be delivered and they weren’t. Client calls to question why – and we tell them……..Call the Govenor and asked him where benefits are. Don’t you think that an influx of calls from clients would get Fast Eddie off his ass to work a little faster?

    Maybe the clients could call the Govenor on our behalf to express how much they appreciate our customer service and timeliness!!

    Sooner or later, I won’t have gas money to get to work!!!! Then what?

  73. I agree with everything that I have read…however there are those who will tell you to wait this out and things will be fine !.. bull$#@$ is what I say to that. Many of us are dependant on our two week pay for one reason or another. My situation is no different…I need to cover my rent, car payment, insurance, credit cards, utulities and oh yeah, let’s not forget the important stuff….FOOD AND GAS !! Hey fast Eddie and those of you in legislature…. I have a young little daughter…I ask you this ” how do I tell my little girl sorry, daddy ain’t got no money for the TV bill, Phone, Internet, Ice Cream, etc. ”

    If anyone has info on a link for DOL office, or a heads up on a lawsuit in the works..please hit me up !!

    PS. What is AFSCME doing ? pay your union dues for no results…..my faith and understanding of what a union represented is fading out fast.

  74. Ironic how we have this terrific State Employee Assistance Program…”to assist Commonwealth employees and their family members in resolving a wide variety of personal problems that may lead to deteriorating employee job performance.”

    Good grief, just about the entire workforce is wondering about their next paycheck. Umm, perhaps payless paydays might just possibly lead to deteriorating employee job performance.

    I sent my local Congressmen e-mails expressing my concerns, I got one copy-and-paste generic response on how they are “working diligently” to resolve the impasse. I believe my definition of working diligently is not quite the same as the Congressman’s, but yet again I will wake up tomorrow and go off to work…diligently.

    Thanks for providing a forum to vent.

  75. I intend on either suing independently or in a class action suit for damages, when the first pay rolls around that I don’t get a full amount. I survive paycheck to paycheck. I have no savings because I spent it try to better myself and moving to take this state job that I have now. A seemingly unwise investment as I look at it now. I plan on continuing my job search into the private sector, because for the risk that I would take on the outside for higher pay is a lot better than enduring no pay at all…every year. I do this every year, just to make myself feel better. I sue for damages because of the undo wounds that my credit is about to receive. I’m currently in the market to buy a home. I don’t need this right now. It looks bad if I have to open some line of credit to pay bills. or hell close acounts or eveen miss bills. Why should I have to open another account in some other bank that I don’t know to make ends meet. That is ludricris. I plan on not spending anything and eating spaghetti for weeks on end. Why do I have to do this. Does it feel like the great depression yet? I’m disappointed in the union as well. What are you good for union. I’m glad I haven’t joined. You take my “fair share” and squandered it, you fools. you lost the last real pressure tactic we state employees had when you lost the furlow. Now the government has no scence of urgency and we lost power.

  76. I would like to enhance on this. I am a State Corrections Officer and this is how i see inmate employment. I classify this into 3 groups. Group one consists of Outside Workers(which is a very small number approx. around 40 out of a population of 2000.), Correctional Industries, and Dietary. These inmates put in 6 hours of work per day and get paid for 6 hours. The second group is all the other workers, which include block workers, grounds crew, and yard workers.etc. They work about 15 minutes and get paid for 6 hours. GOD Wish I could do that. The third group are all the other inmates who dont work at all and still collect. This is done with a loophole called the GLP(General Labor Pool). The state will say that these inmates can be called upon to perfom a task upon request, and that is why they receive the pay. Lets put this into reality. IF we ask an inmate in the GLP to go pick up a piece of trash..we’d get the loss of air effect…the big..PSSSSSssst. They think they are above doing all that..TO them that isnt “THEIR” job,and we would probably incite a riot. Its a sad sad system. I could tell the state how to save money…cut inmate funding. Our facility has a state of the art gym..that was better than the one I had in my High School. Not only to mention the pay as stated earlier..we pay for each inmate in the state to send out 10 mailings per month. at .44cents per letter and 10 letters per inmate per month..lets do the math. When will the state pay for my postage? Tell all your kids..the best way to receive a FREE education…GO TO JAIL!! You can earn your HVAC,,CAD.CARPENTRY..ELECTRONICS.NETWORKING.AND FIBER OPTICS..JUST TO NAME A FEW. IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE. I ATTEND COLLEGE AT NIGHTS AND I HAVE TO PAY FOR IT..BUT THE STATE SAYS..WELL IF WE REHABILITATE THE INMATE POPULATION.WHEN THEY PAROLE THEY WONT COME BACK!..WELL COMM. OF PA..WHEN WILL THE 87% RECITIVISM RATE STICK INTO YOUR STUPID LITTLE HEADS..MOST INMATES DONT CARE..FREE FOOD..FREE HOUSING..BETTER STUFF THEN SOME GOT ON THE STREETS.AND CHEAP CABLE. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU PAID $15 / MONTH FOR CABLE?..BUT THEIR INMATES.THEY SAY!!..WELL HERES THE MESSAGE I RECEIVE…SCREW UP IN LIFE..BREAK THE LAW..AND GET REWARDED!!! NEVER WILL YOU SEE IT BETTER THAN THE DEPARTMEN OF CORRUPTION. SO IF THE STATE WANTS TO SAVE MONEY..CUT INMATE TREATMENT!..WE SEE THEM COME BACK OVER AND OVER AGAIN…HERES A HINT..IT DOESNT WORK!..MAKE JAIL ..UMMM..JAIL..THEN YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE SUCH A HIGH INMATE POPULATION IN THE STATE THAT IS COSTING THE TAXPAYERS SOO MUCH..AND PUTTING US INTO IMPASSES YEAR AFTER YEAR. THANK YOU ED..FOR BEING SO SPITEFUL AND A RIGHT DOWN CROOK. LETS CALL A SPADE A SPADE! YOU HAVE FOUGHT THE PSCOA TIME AND TIME AGAIN..AND ANOTHER REASON IS BECASUE WE WONT GIVE YOU CONCESSIONS ON THE ARBITRATED CONTRACT THAT WAS CREATED. YOU SCREWED US BEFORE AND YOU WANT US TO HELP?..YOU ARE MORE RETARDED THAN I HAVE EVER THOUGHT!!..BUT HERES THE BIGGEST JOKE EVER…IF THIS IMPASSE CONTINUES..THE G20 SUMMIT IS COMING TO PITTSBURGH PENNSYLVANIA IN THE END OF AUGUST. THE ECONOMIC LEADERS OF THE WORLD ARE COMING TO OUR STATE…THAT CANT EVEN PASS A BUDGET!! THAT IS LIKE HAVING YOUR GUESTS EAT IN THE OUTHOUSE!!

  77. Cassie,
    I know that the ASFME DOC nurses also want to jump ship. Anyone who wants to join and anyone who knows how to, reply to this.
    No Pay, No Way

  78. Can anyone give me a site PROVING that inmates are indeed getting paid when CO’s are not, I need proof positive for our local paper………….

  79. The governor of our great state would rather see thousands go without pay, just to get what he wants. In his mind, if you go long enough without pay, or are scared enough, at some point we will take whatever budget we can get & he wins. The sad truth is, there are many that complain and won’t do anything to fight back. They will continue to work, continue to get reamed, and continue to complain: because they have no direction. I wish PSCOA would actually shut down the state prison systems. Employees can go to work and provide security, but keep the jail locked down. When inmates don’t get their privelages, people listen. I’m getting my tent ready for Eddies front lawn and I’m even writing a few campfire songs. I can only hope that I’m not the only one there.

  80. Ok, My wife has a good point. Privatize the sale of liquor and close all the wine and spirit stores. That might help.

  81. If we would file a lawsuit, we would still probably have to wait God knows how long for any results, right?

  82. The whiskey rebellion was what 1792 or something. Come on lax the strict policy on alcohol. My wine of month club is waiting.

  83. Just because those state employees work for LCB doesn’t immediately make them more expendable than any other state employee. I know, I know, most people pretty much hate the LCB, but I know a lot of the people that work there and the history and politics that have made LCB the villain that people seem to see it as aren’t the fault of those people. Just a thought. Hopefully they’ll spread the cuts around, so it’s not too lopsided anywhere.

  84. MANY INMATES THAT HAS BEEN IN PRISON OVER 60 DAYS RECEIVE “IDLE pAY” $26.00 A MONTH ! IF THEY SWEEP THE FLOOR THEY GET PAID, IF THEY SIT IN THEIR CELL, THEY STILL GET PAID. THE ONLY REASON AN INMATE WANTS TO WORK SWEEPING A FLOOR, OR TAKING OUT TRASH IS TO GET OUT OF THEIR CELL, ROAM THE CELL BLOCK AND PASS CONTRABAND ! I SEE IT EVERY DAY. $26.00 A DAY ! THINK ABOUT THAT, TALLY IT UP.

  85. Here is the response that I received when inquiring about the “Payless Paydays” and the FLSA:
    Our opinion is that failure to pay “on time” is failure to pay — and constitutes an FLSA violation. But, because of the 11th Amendment to the US Constitution, you cannot sue the state “privately” for FLSA violations.
    Your remedy would be to have the U.S. Dept. of Labor sue for you. I suggest you contact the U.S. Department of Labor, Wages and Hours Division (listed in the phone book) and make a complaint and request them to take action.
    There is a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit holding that a state’s failure to pass a budget does not get them a “free pass” to fail to pay its employees. In that case the court held the state liable for the FLSA violation. There is also Third Circuit authority that “late pay”
    is tantamount to “failure to pay.” Pennsylvania is embraced within the Third Circuit. I would also suggest that you not fail to report to work without taking appropriate leave because if you don’t work the state is not obligated to pay you — and so there would be no FLSA violation.

  86. JOE, Assuming pay is short on the 17th I will further assert (whine) in my complaint to the Wilkes Barre office of Wage and Hour that Mr. Rendell and the State’s failure to pay is willful.

    Willfully withholding pay allows the Secretary to sue in Federal Court for three times the amount in damages. I figure since Uncle Eddie knew of the ramifications of his decision as a result of (a) Judge Leavitt’s opinion and warning in the Afscme suit and (b) he is, after all, a lawyer himself and is (c) married to a Federal Judge, his refusal to pay the State employees can ONLY be viewed as a willful violation of the provisions of FLSA.

    I hope everybody who I’ve been harping to about this will consider doing the same and is passing this word on to their co-workers. If enough State Employees are contacting Wage and Hour they will be hard pressed to ignore the reality of our plight and succumb to further political posturing.

    BTW, if you google FLSA DOL Wage and Hour you’ll easily find their site and phone number of all the district offices.

  87. I was under the impression that the federal government provided funding for at least part of the wages for DPW employees since they are responsible for processing and issuing federal benefits like food stamps, TANF, and LIHEAP. Is this the case? If so, where is that money and why can’t we receive the portion of the pay that’s provided by the federal government even if the state government isn’t authorized to pay us during an impasse?

  88. Any feedback on the “break out” the union has scheduled for Tuesday 7/14? What exactly is this? Is your workplace participating? Our union rep mentioned it but I don’t think anyone really knows exactly what it is or what we are to do. I got a message on my answering machine today that said about going outside and “rallying” during lunch that day. I was just wondering what other offices were doing. Is this allowed on office property?

  89. Workers in our office will, in essence, be picketing outside the office during their lunches. We are making posters urging passage of HB 1771, wearing union shirts and buttons and we have stickers with a smilie face and the words “State Volunteer” on them.

  90. Yes the inmates are still being and the state agency I work at is also paying the clients (they earn minimum wage, which by the way goes up on 7/24) while the employees are NOT being paid!

  91. I would be interested in getting involved with any class action suit and I know there are other here at the bucks County cao.

  92. I have spent the last year away from my family in Afghanistan.Now thanks to Governor Ed Rendell i have to go away AGAIN (2hrs from my home working for the guard ,to keep money flowing into my home. I am thankfull i can do it..but it’s sad that our elected officials can’t do THEIR duty.

  93. SUE,SUE,SUE,SUE.Then wait for the repercussions to begin.You might as well start looking for another job as you file the suit!

  94. Already started looking for a new job. Always do when this shit starts. I’ll still sue for damages just to aggrevate the hell out of them and maybe there will enough presidence for it to never happen again.

  95. I had my attorney look into this already. Any suit from a private individual against the commonwealth for a violation of the FLSA will be dismissed before it goes anywhere. The only way an individual can sue the State for violation of FLSA is if the State agrees to be sued. And we all know THAT isnt going to happen.

  96. You are correct, in part, StateVolunteer. I believe that the Secretary of Labor of the US Government has the ability to sue the State in Federal Court on our behalf in order to force them to pay damages…assuming the Federal Government is so inclined. I can’t find anything that says they HAVE to sue. However…the Secretary CAN sue in Federal Court on our behalf. For this reason I have been encouraging all State Employees whose paychecks are short, late, missing to contact the local Wage and Hour District Office of the Federal DOL and file a complaint for violatons of FLSA (failure to pay wages under provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act)and ask that the Secretary intervene on your behalf. This is the only possible way of getting out of this situation…and it is not a guarantee that the paycheck will magically appear next day. It’s going to be a goings on to get it.

    But I figure I pay enough in Federal taxes and they’ve put these Acts in place to protect us…I’m going to give them some good work to do on my behalf on the 17th and see some return on my tax dollars.

  97. Clear a space on your mantle! I couldn’t believe this one (hope the link works):

    http://pahousegop.com/mail/util.cfm?mailaction=clickthru&gpiv=2100042993.1955847.918&gen=1&mailing_linkid=16682

    Has anyone called about this loan? I think it’s a line of credit at Citizens Bank he’s referring to. Still no help to those with poor credit!
    Pennlive.com says that he says he’s “satisfied that the programs (loans? welfare?) will keep state workers’ households from crashing this summer.” I have a solution – our paychecks! Based on comments he made today, it may be quite awhile!

  98. I have read a couple followons to his (customary) ill chosen remarks dpw worker.

    He was quoted as saying he was just kidding about those remarks about a statue, he really cares about the state employees, just not as much as the kids blah blah blah. Read it here:
    http://blogs.mcall.com/capitol_ideas/2009/07/afternoon-budget-update-2.html

    I’ve also read that he realizes that some people aren’t qualifying for the loans and he scratched his head and commented that he hoped they could turn to friends and family to get them through this time. And if not? My comment to that is that the only friend I have in Pennsylvania that could afford to offer me the replacement for my husband’s salary is Uncle Ed Rendell himself. Wonder if I should give him a call…

  99. Here’s a thought. I know we’re losing money…yes, yes, yes it will be paid back. BUT, what about the money that the various charities will not get paid back from our SECA donations? If we need more voices with us to make ourselves heard to our government representatives what about all of the various charities that will be losing a portion of the money that they count on to keep their services running? Can anyone run numbers on how much those charities will lose during this impasse, since SECA money will not be “caught up” and give back to the charities once we are paid again. If they won’t listen to us, maybe if more non-state workers from the charities that are losing donation money start to voice their minds the government will work harder to come to a budget.

  100. Here’s another thought that I’ve heard passed around at work. At the next elections, several folks have said that regardless of party affiliation, or favored politicians, they will NOT be voting for ANY current position holders. That they will vote for the opponent to the current office holders across the board as a thank you for the situation they have allowed to continue.

  101. That’s right, Anthony! Vote Anti-incumbant! That’s my philosophy. Do it for about 6 years and that should clear everybody who is responisible out of office. I suggest to find out who is running for re-election before going to the polls, because who won’t know who is an incumbant once you get there, as I found out last year when I went to vote ANTI-INCUMBANT. VIVE ANTI-INCUMBANT PARTY!!

  102. I’m not really sure what I want to say, but I am a DPW worker in Pennsylvania but I have been working for Pennsylvania for a very long time and am one of those people who lives from paycheck to paycheck and this not getting paid is not a good thing for me. I have another dilema and that is there is a possibility that my husband is going out on strike (he is not a state employee) and with neither of us getting any pay we will probably be thrown out of our apartment. Could you please let me know what I am supposed to do. Are you going to be able to pay my rent and my car payment? Help, please.

  103. I sure wish that our so call govenor would get his head out of his butt. We have bills that are piling up and my husband still has to go to work with no pay. I feel that welfare and prisioners should not be getting and the state workers that are out there working should what is wrong with this picture people.
    How are we to go on like this from day to day wondering how our bills are going to get paid and the gas getting back and fourth to work without pay. What are they going to do when the employees cannot come to work because they have no gas money.

  104. Folks, this is a bad situation for sure! I am a praying person and in addition to some of the good advice previously offered, I suggest that we pray for this budget to get passed quickly. My family serves God and He has never let us down. We tithe and give to others when able. We are going to pray for all affected by this situation. Philippians 4:6 is great advice. Dust off your bibles and take a look. HE cares for us in ways that we just don’t realize. For now we are thankful for the $3,000 a year salary that I get for preaching every Sunday. Find something to be thankful for, laugh out loud till it hurts and try to focus on family and pleasant things, it will do you good.

  105. Dear Rev spouse…thank you for your prayers and your perspective. It is good to be reminded that we have much to be thankful for instead of focusing on the bleakest things. Bless you!

  106. Jct: There’s nothing wrong with small denomination municipal or California State IOUs if anyone can pay their taxes with them. When Argentina’s government workers were faced with cuts, their unions talked 6 state governments into paying them with small-denomination state bonds which could be used to pay for state services and taxes by everyone.
    When the local currency is pegged to the Time Standard of Money (how many dollars per unskilled hour child labor) Hours earned locally can be intertraded with other timebanks globally! In 1999, I paid for 39/40 nights in Europe with an IOU for a night back in Canada worth 5 Hours. U.N. Millennium Declaration UNILETS Resolution C6 to governments is for a time-based currency to restructure the global financial architecture.
    See http://youtube.com/kingofthepaupers
    Too bad California IOUs won’t be accepted in payment for state taxes and services like state bonds were in Argentina. Too bad California IOUs will be denominated too big to use as local currency. Too bad Argentina people were smart enough to avoid the tent-cities catastrophe and California people are too stupid to follow their example.
    If they make IOUs legal tender, I’ll take back every joke I ever made about Girlieman Governor Musclehead if he engineers the California state currency lifeboat.
    But Philadelphia has an Equal Dollars system that could save them so they might be even stupider.

  107. Rev. I concur with your words of encouragement to turn to God with our cares and fears about this current crisis. I have a lifetime of testimonies of how even when there seemed no way to get the bills paid or food on the table, it was there. No other explanation except God helped. He continues to do so, keeping my heart an attitude about this in a peaceful place. God bless you.

  108. I am glad to see someone else has noticed that PSECU Loan is a joke. They plastered our work site with signs and had repersentives here to take loan applications. A lot of individuals were not concerned because the literature said you needed to be a state worker and have direct deposit no where did it say you needed spotless credit. I know of one person that was approved for this loan out of the hundreds applied. Thanks PSECU for your help!!!

  109. The State Police have PSTA – DOC has PSCOA. The remaining employee’s need to follow these two groups of employee’s and get rid of AFSCME. They charge you big bucks so they can support the politicians and take big exotic trips while you get NOTHING.

  110. What makes any of you folks that want to sue thru US DOL think that you won’t get fired from the State?

    Reality says the collective State Worker population is spineless and will roll over for FAT Eddie.

    Calling Reps and Senators won’t get thru to them. They are in session and their staff take the calls.

    Showing up in person on the first $0 payday at the Capital building and pushing past the guards and into the Legislative chambers might tell them something. The guards can only shoot so many bullets. 77,000 people storming the Legislative chambers with those clowns inside might make them goose it up and sign a budget, don’tcha think?

    But then, we State Workers are spineless jellyfish.

  111. That’s strange, Chief (June 25, 2009 message). I work in a state agency that gets most of its money from the Feds, and I am paid on time. Not sure why you aren’t if you are getting Federal funding.

  112. As a state employee, I think it is ashame that it is taking so long to pass this buget.Gov Rendall is our leader of this state why are we in 3 Billion dollar in debt, It is easy for him to say take a loan, get food stamps, when his wife is a federal judge, they are not hurting for anything. I wish as penn citizens we can vote him out of office like they did in California.

  113. Ok, if the state constitution(law) trumps federal law as the Govena’ suggests here from the commonwealth court ruling on furloughs. I suppose it will logically be assumed that the use, sale, and distribution of medicinal marihuana in California would actually trump federal law there as well, which it most certainly does not. Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

  114. this is in response to co that makes less than a convict.
    You mentioned the trades the inmates are trained for, I know that some of the inmates they are training are doing life so why do they need trade skills to stay in jail.

  115. The unions are the best unions the legislators can buy. AFSCME and SEIU are not on the side of the employees and haven’t been for years. Guess what?????????? While you are not getting paid……….AFSCME and SEIU employees and executives ARE getting paid.

    Remember this on election day. Every incumbent should be voted out out out out of office. They must learn that they answer to the citizens of the state.

    if ANY tax is raised it would be more fair to raise the sales tax a percent. That way everybody pays. With an increase in personal income tax only those of us with legitimate jogbs pay and pay and pay. With a sales tax increase EVERYBODY pays. The drug dealers pay, the prostitutes pay, the illegal immigrants pay, the tourists to the state pay. EVERYONE pays when they make a purchase. The tax needs to be on the buying end…………not the earning end. There is too big of an underground economuy where no one pays taxes because they income is not legitimate. Wake up everyone.

  116. The Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act certainly applies to the State Government. This has to be true as there is nothing in the statute that explicitly exempts the State. This is a mere assertion and a “false dilemma” interpretation of the Court decision on “Essential” and “Non-Essential” workers. The Courts wouldn’t allow layoffs of some workers, so the argument is: “The Governor can EITHER layoff nonessential workers OR not pay any workers.” The Court never said that. There is no reason why an interim budget to pay workers cannot be passed. Both sides choose not to as both think they can gain politically from the workers being caught in the middle.

    We can afford new entitlements and new programs for the schools that also turn around and raise local taxes every chance they get. Pay raises are put on hold.And travel expenses grudgingly paid. It wouldn’t be so bad if the government SAVED these clippings and shavings from State workers, but, no, these clippings and shavings just go to programs for other groups and the schools.

  117. Thanks for the comment, Thomas. I agree with everything you said except for in regard to the Wage Payment & Collection Act. There was a case (around 1993, if I recall correct) whose name I have since forgotten that clarified the Act to say that government employees were not covered under Pennsylvania’s law (but we ARE covered under the FLSA). I’ll bust out my LexisNexis login this weekend and see if I can find it again. I could be wrong, and if you feel strongly, by all means either contact L&I or file a claim at your local Magisterial District Justice (about $75 plus service).

  118. found this on one of the union websites:

    BUDGET UPDATE!

    IT APPEARS THAT YOUR CALLS HAVE BEEN HEARD BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.

    A recorded message is now telling callers that “the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has initiated an investigation of the Commonwealth to ensure that your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act are protected. There is no need for you to file an individual complaint. All affected employees will be covered by our investigation into this matter.” If the Department of Labor finds there has been a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, it could instruct the Commonwealth to pay state workers and/or file a suit against the Commonwealth. As we have advised, due to a United States Supreme Court case, state employees cannot sue the state for liquidated damages for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The United States Department of Labor can, however, request damages, as well as injunctive relief. While we do not yet know what the Department of Labor will do following their investigation, we will advise you of developments as we learn of them.

  119. Yes we state employees can not work as long as we are not paid. LOL Yeah right. I work at a mhmr residential hospital. What happens to the individuals if we dont go to work and care for them. Especially those who are under complete care. Also are you aware that those idividuals under our care who are capable of working, are not getting paid either? how do you explain that to someone with the mental age of 5 years old?
    AFSCME is picketing Senate and Represenitives offices, organizing protest bus trips to Harrisburgh.

    Oh on the subject of our elected officals in Harrisburg! You should read or hear some of the snotty, blame laying, dont bother me replies we stateworkers receive in answer to our phone calls and or emails.

  120. I have been paid wages by Act 534 since 2005 when I was seriously injured at my job by someone I was superivising. Even though I have not gotten a raise since 2005 and will not ever get one, I am being paid by an insurance company AND I only got 20% of my check on 7-24. Why? I should have received the entire thing as most insurance companies are paid at least one month in advance! Will I be able to go in on lawsuits with the workers? And by the way, AFSCME is most likely the reason I was injured because they agreed to a reduction of staff in a dual diagnosis unit at a facility for MR. Now, I will be forever unable to fully use both of my arms.

  121. My husband is the state worker in our house and he came home from an unearned work day with the wonderful news that although he will not be recieving a pay check until the Budget is signed, the Prisoners in all State institutions will. They already eat better than we do when he is getting paid, and now they are making more than we do and more than the people who are controlling their environment, for their safety and ours??? They committed a crime and are in jail for a reason and getting paid for it!! Where is the Right in that Wrong??? Something needs to be done about our Government…

  122. lets not play the blame game here, brandy, yes it’s annoying that some state workers (prisoners) are getting paid, HOWEVER we all need to realize that it is unfair for ANY of us to work without being paid! that’s the problem with the unions-lack of UNITY! everyone wants to blame someone else. pssu is completely spineless

  123. The gov. and ALL the state legislators knew the budget was due by June 30th. What have they been doing all year? They didn’t do the job they were hired to do, ergo they should all be fired.

    And what about the unions taking their dues out of our paltry paychecks. Unbelievable! They couldn’t wait to take their dues until we got a full pay? I think they ( SEIU) should be fired too

  124. After a union meeting yesterday, AFSCME, I found out that our union people want to tax everything in PA just like Ohio does. Our labor rep. said that PA should tax both I-79 and I-80 as well as make our sales tax cover all purchases made in PA. When a few of us questioned him about getting a lump sum of back wages instead of 2 or 3 separate deposits to our accounts (as the state no longer will give paper paychecks) to reduce the amount of taxes we have to pay on our wages we were told to quit worrying about it and just accept the fact that we would get paid. Sounds as if this union needs stopped if they are going to make us pay more for less!!!

  125. heard on the news tonight that Rendell has said that if they don’t come to a budget resolution by August 3rd, he will sign a stop gap budget so state workers can get paid.

    let’s see if it happens.

  126. guess that’s what happens when someone has federal government aspirations and the federal government starts to get involved.

    he doesn’t care about pa govt. anymore, but something that might affect his federal aspirations makes him move into action.

  127. Rendell to Sign “Bridge Budget”

    7/29: On the heels of yesterday’s rally, Gov. Rendell announced today that he will ‘blue line’ SB850 to allow state workers to be paid. This is NOT a stopgap and it is NOT a final budget. Rendell will veto every line of the unbalanced SB850 budget except those essential for the operation of state government. He will deliver bridge budget letter to legislators on Monday. They will have 2 days to vote whereupon Rendell will sign immediately. Once signed, we will post a schedule of when retroactive pay can be expected

  128. There is no dispute that working w/o pay is unfair. However, feeding the inmates bread and water and take away their postage so they can’t write home? How assine this sounds to anyone who has worked in a prison for more than a minute. Or we can listen to some idiot that says to walk out and leave the criminals run rampant. Sounds like the right thing to do, walk out and let the people we work beside everyday get mandated to stay short staffed and potentially get hurt. And let’s not forget that every union that has been mentioned good or bad in these prior posts all supported Governor Rendell in both his election and his re-election. How can you all act surprised since he’s bullied the legislature and senate for the past seven years each year during budget talks by threatening and now holding hostage state employees salaries to attain his political agenda. Go ahead and keep voting the way your union tells you to. Don’t kid yourselves, the PSCOA are a bunch of over-rated, egomaniacal, self important blowhards that wouldn’t be and never were personally worth a plug nickel when they were local union officers or in negotiations if it weren’t for their pet lawyers. Nothing worse than a night shift tough guy that hid from inmates and spent every “working moment” trying to hide from work. Where is the PSCOA’s or AFSCME’s hardship / strike fund to help their membership during crisis such as these ? Last time I checked, I haven’t seen PSCOA opening it’s coffers to assist any of their membership during the impasse. So I wouldn’t suggest waiting by the mailbox for the PSCOA impasse relief check. Grow up or wake up, unions ARE part of the problem. They are pricing their membership out of their jobs, hoarding your hard earned dues money and supporting politicians that don’t give a tinker’s damn about anything except accepting the union’s PAC / bribe money and then turning their backs on them.

  129. One who knows: I have to agree to an extent about the unions. I try to be fair. Relative to actual legal action I think they are doing all that they can. I do not agree with their partisan position. (I have a brother who is a Union Official for a different, very strong union and we argue this point all the time). Hence, I tend to vote for whoever I think is the right candidate. But I digress (again).

    I was just speaking with somebody the other day about this very subject. When Mack Truck or Beth Steel (local companies with union shops) were on strike, there were strike funds with sub pay, grocery support etc. This fellow had a co-worker in crisis and contacted the union for support and got a glib response about having so many members they couldn’t help and they, too, are without funds personally and yadaya. They were told to use the HR site for the resources there to help them. Since I like simple math to explain things to myself, I did a simple calculation.

    Using my husband’s union dues as an average (don’t know if that’s a good number or not!) x number of members of his union x 12 mos in a year = $$$$$ a lot of money every year. You could do the same math for your union and your dues amount…it’s amazing when you are faced with an actual dollar amount.

    I found myself wondering what that money is used for if it is not providing strike or hardship benefits! If you do the math you will wonder the same thing I am sure.

  130. I have been with the state for several years now and i am disguisted with the afscme union and their lax tactics. Nothing ever gets resolved and when they should be backing us the most they roll over and play stupid. i think it is time for change and the change is the union. Of course what rendell is doing is wrong and what does he care he makes millions on his own why does he need a paycheck. I just thank god that this is his last term and hopefully we can ghet someone in the office that cares about the employees of the state of Pennsylvania

  131. Did you know that elsewhere in the union peolple get jackets and all sorts of other things from the union. I work for the dot i am a highway foreman and before i came foreman we were paying out close to 1,000.00 dollars a month and only got 200 for our meetings for food. nothing else from the union and when we had an issue we got the run around.

  132. I can tell you honestly I will NOT be electing any incumbents. Regardless of who my USELESS union endorses. By the way on a local note, the ‘office-holders’ at my local AFSCME will not be re-elected. There was almost a riot at the last meeting. People were REALLY fed-up with the “I don’t knows”, the “we’ll check on that for you” and finally the “I don’t know what to tell you”. They’re going to push people up to and beyond the breaking point and someone’s going get injured at the least…

  133. Given my union has failed me and pushes a political agenda that I can’t stomach anymore. I am resigning from the union and rejecting their fees. I will still have to pay the fair share, but they will have to account where it goes or I can file charges with the assistance of the Right to Work Defense League. These unions are nothing but pansies for politics. I am in the process of contacting my state representatives to endorse a bill that makes PA a right to work state so that I am not forced to pay for someone elses politics. It was obvious to me when it came to our strong armed secret ballot over furloughs and giving away the state’s contribution to my retirement that these people do not have my or any other state workers best interest at heart. My union encouraged us to wear a purple shirt to work on fridays to show solidarity. That is probably one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Is that the best they can do? I hope others join me in the right to work movement. Ask yourselves, if you can’t be protected from going into financial ruin, what good are these overpaid liberal mouth pieces?

    By the way the Right to Work Foundation’s website is: http://www.nrtw.org/a/a_3_s.htm

  134. Rebel, If your members are in the House Majority, good luck. One of their leadership is fiercely opposed to PA ever becoming a Right To Work state.

  135. This is only half over. I WANT DAMAGES. The mental duress does not end until the money is in the account.

  136. Well Chief, now that we are getting paid, DOL won’t be doing anything. The union’s grievance COULD get us the interest they asked for but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that now that paychecks are rolling either.

  137. Why won’t they do anything? We are still victims and they need to be held accountable for their actions.

  138. Paychecks to Start Tomorrow!

    8/6: PA Treas. Rob McCord announced today that employees who should have been paid on 7-24 but received only 2 days pay will receive the 8 days missed, along with their regularly scheduled 8-7-09 paycheck, tomorrow. Employees who should have been paid on 7-17 but received only 7 days pay will receive the 3 missed days, along with the 10 days they missed on 7-31-09, on Monday 8-10-09. All other pays will remain on schedule.

  139. I’m happy we’ll finally get our back pay soon, but I am not thanking Rendell or anyone else for paying me wages that were due me since 7/3, and of which I earned every cent. And I am certainly not grateful for the now larger bills with added on late fees! Noone should have to go to work everyday for 5 weeks and not get paid on time & have to borrow gas money to get there! I WILL REMEMBER THIS ON ELECTION DAY!!

  140. Not only are the state workers feeling the pinch, we self-employed workers that recieve funding from BCIU for child-care received 30% of our income. That is for the month of July it was received 8/22/09 and no insite as to when the other 70% will be issused.

  141. I am (was)a business owner of Resolutions Female Adolescent Center who cared for court ordered dependent/delinquent youth who are in need of supervision, structure and treatment. These children are wards of the state. I was expected to care for 7 girls without pay indefinately. Gov. Ed Rendell “blue lined” child welfare and residential services while he opted to pay himself. I closed my doors on September 1, 2009 and sent away 7 youth who were uprooted from what some called “home”. I haven’t had a pay check in a month and my staff were not paid there last pay check. Unbelievable to most, the State of PA put my 10 year passion and dream out of business. I would so love to fight back with a law suite. Something needs to be put in place to never allow this to happen again and those that have had to bare the expense of the incompitence of our government need to be compensated.

  142. I only wish that Ed Rendell would break the union once and for all. You people are overpaid, enjoy benefits that nobody in the private sector enjoys and the people paying your salary have no choice but to do it. As a PA tax payer, I wish Rendell would break your lousy union. And then to use extortion against the tax payers and threats of lawsuits is a disgrace and illustrates the problem with unions.

  143. What exclusive benefits do we have, Christ09301?

    My benefits are good, but not spectacular. And my pay is several thousand dollars per year below what my friends in similar positions earn.

    I voluntarily choose to do what I do because I love my job and I have this crazy notion of “civic duty”. I’m not here to be rich and famous.

  144. Christo9301 … I am happy to see that the work of many state employees has left you blissfully ignorant of the facts. I as a state employee has not benefits. Many of us worked seasonally and although we did the same work as our full time and civilian counterparts received far less. Now, we have been left with nothing. You really need to get and education before proving your lack of intelligence in this forum.

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