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.
This past Friday, AFSCME took a break from instructing us to file for unemployment, printing business cards, and constructing orange armbands to file a grievance with … well, I’m not sure who. Itself? I’m hoping it was filed with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, but the document is a hand-written complaint on an AFSCME grievance form. The complaint calls the state out for violation of Article 19, Sections 1, 12, and 13 of the labor contract. Those sections state:
Section 1: Effective July 1, 2007, employees will continue to be paid in accordance with the January 1, 2007 Standard Pay Schedule in Appendix A.
Section 12: The salaries of employees shall be paid biweekly. In the event the payday occurs on a holiday, the preceding day shall be the payday.
Section 13: The policies regarding pay scale group revisions contained in the Commonwealth’s Personnel Rules shall continue.
I can’t say whether or not this will make a difference until I find out more about it. The state has already violated federal labor law and the Rendell administration has already mis-quoted the AFSCME v Rendell lawsuit. But, as I’ve pointed out before, my biggest grief with AFSCME is that they appear to be sitting idly by while other unions such as the PSCOA and the PSTA stand up and fight. We pay dues to our unions whether we want to or not, and I do not believe that asking them to stand up and fight for us — even when the odds are stacked so harshly against us — is too much to ask. So while this isn’t a final solution, I’m happy to see my well-paid union finally start to get out of its comfortable chair. With a little luck, we’ll soon move to “out of its chair and yelling at Rendell” to “banging on the desk demanding to be heard” and finally “standing on the desk, screaming fire and brimstone at the top of its lungs until there’s no more air left in the room”.
AFSCME is starting to stir. While I am far from satisfied at their response (check their website for a list of what they’ve done to date), they have just moved one notch over from “what am I paying these guys for” to “you’re late to the party, but let’s see what you’ve got”. I will be ecstatic when (if?) we get all the way to “kicking ass and taking names”, let alone “the legislature and governor have finally done their jobs and passed the budget a few weeks late”.
Continue contacting your legislators and governor. There are many sites out there listing points of contact; I personally use Vote Smart. The only way we will get results is if we lean on our elected officials and let them know we’re watching.
UPDATE: AFSCME has contacted me to let me know that the grievance was filed under Article 38, Accelerated Grievance Procedure, and went straight to the Bureau of Labor Relations at the Office of Administration. For you non-state-employees, OA is a sort of all-around, do-everything agency that supports, one way or another, most other state employees.