State Employee? The AP Wants to Hear From You

A reporter at the Associated Press is interested in speaking to state employees who are affected by the impasse.  So that he doesn’t get bombarded with spam, I’m not going to post his email address here.  Rather, please use the “Contact” link above and let me know you’d like to get in touch with him.  Be sure to include a valid email address, and I’ll forward your request.  I previously stated that he might be interested in speaking to people anonymously — this is incorrect.  I misunderstood an email on the matter.  So, I’ve discarded any contacts sent to me — better to err on the side of privacy than accidentally get someone published who wanted to remain anonymous.

If you’re interested in possibly speaking on the record, contact me using the “Contact” link above.  NOTE:  IF YOU POST A COMMENT BELOW, YOUR NAME AND COMMENT WILL BE PUBLISHED EXACTLY AS YOU LEAVE IT.  Do not leave a comment below unless you want your stuff published.

42 thoughts on “State Employee? The AP Wants to Hear From You”

  1. I think the budget sessions should be done just like it’s done when someone is called for jury duty. You have to stay until an agreement is made regardless of how long it takes. No breaks except for the necessary ones.

  2. My husband and I are both state employees and neither one of us will receive pay after July 17th if the budget is not passed. How are we suppose to live with no income at all. We are not eligible to apply for UC. We are expected to go to work. None of it seems fair.

    We may be forced to apply for foodstamp beneifts, which is very sad and embarrassing considering I work in the welfare office.

    This budget impasse is really effecting the middle class state worker. We have to work hard to make sure that the public still gets their benefits, but we are not getting paid.

  3. I hope the GOP and the Blue Dog Dems hold out and don’t let Fast Eddie win his extortion game. As a state employee I am annoyed at the inconvenience and stress, but as a PA taxpayer I’m sick and tired of his outrageous taxing and spending.

    The governor actually said we should put a statue of him on our mantel for getting 0% $15,000 loans? These are $1000 every 2 weeks – not a lump sum. And only interest-free for 60 days after budget is passed…and we are required to get direct deposit to the lending institution.

    No free lunch for us Ed. Only for you! And breakfast and dinner too.

    Rendell can rot as far as I’m concerned. And so can the union for supporting this moron all of these years while I’m forced to pay my “fair share.” NO NEW TAXES!

  4. I am a state employee and I can’t believe this has come to this. Governer Randell has never [pass the buget on time, He is our leader of this state how did we get 3 billion dollars in det. But he still gets $250.00 per day for food, not to mention the house and state get $168.00 per day for food what do they care about the middle class state worker.We elected these people to help us for a better PA but it seems it is all about them.It makes me digusted to think I served my country for this so called elected officials to represent me that sit arouind and due nothing to better my country and my state, rather but money in there own pockets,

  5. I just had to write this to the AP writer who didnt allow himself to be bullied by whomever is instructing the media to keep our true plight ‘hush hush’. He reported what we feel accurately and I’m grateful to him for that.

    Dear Mr. Pete Jackson,

    I want to commend you for writing on and revealing to the public the plight of pa. state workers. i am so angry and disheartned that Philly local news stations apparently have been ‘instructed’ to keep this situation as hush hush as possible. i think that is absurd considering the magnitude of this horrific situation. i dont know how i’m going to pay my rent, elecrtric, car insurance, work transportation costs, nor do i know how i’m going to feed my 2 childern. I can’t believe this is happening. Nor can I believe how distastefully the media is witholding our anger from the masses. It’s an apparent cover-up. I applaud you. Thank you so much, because i’ve been watching fox29 and abc6 for coverage and they only report that we have loans avail. to us, which that isnt even true because i dont have perfect credit as is a requirement. This is also the case for most of my fellow state co workers.

    Incredulous State Worker

    Thank you so much.

  6. I’m just as discussed with this situation as everyone else. Having small 2 children and a stay at home wife that takes care of our children, makes us a one income family, now we are a no-income family.

    What disturbs me the most is I contacted my deferred comp rep today inquiring if I can borrow against myself to get me through this impasse. Guess what I was told? I was informed that the Commonwealth, has instructed my deferred comp company that the “Impasse” does not qualify as a “hardship”. Having zero income but being required to work doesn’t qualify as a hardship? Now what they did tell me was I might be able pull my money out in this hardship of having zero income after I have defaulted on my mortgage and other bills.

    The $1000 from PSECU is great but it will only put food on my table and pay my mortgage. It wont pay my car insurance, car payment, credit card payment and student loans.

    What’s worse is I contacted my regular bank, (not one that Fast Eddie contacted) and they offered me a low interest of 10.9% loan to get me through this hard time. How ironic that the banks got bailed out by the Federal Government for bad decisions but now when the working man needs help they offer a “low” interest rate of 10.9%. What a crock of crap.

  7. Gee……Eddy campaigned that he wanted to do for the state what he did for Philadelphia. And he was elected not once but twice. Well, he is ruining the state just as he did Philadelphia. An now everyone is suprised????

  8. Mike, I work at the Welfare office, and however embarrassing it may be, If you don’t receive your next pay, apply for foodstamps. At least it is something. We are all applying. On August 1st if you have no income, you will be eligible for $497.00 for the month of August. You will not have to report your income until the 10th of the month following your pay. If we get paid in August, you will need to report by September 10 to affect October benefits. So at the least you will get two months of foodstamps. If they are going to play hard ball, we need to as well.

  9. Mike, sorry, I gave you the wrong figures…for a family of four, no income foodstamp benefits are $668.00.

    Also, now all resources are excluded for foodstamps.

  10. I work in Children and Youth, and I find it ironic that I could be investigating abuse for children whose caregivers have benefits that I do not have. I do not have children, so I am not sure what food stamps I would be eligible for. I am going through a difficult time, as my family has suffered 2 deaths in 1 week. Maybe my grandmother, who just lost her husband and her son, will take me out to dinner. My boyfriend bought a house, and he will not be able to support me. I am working, following the deadlines that I have, but I am annoyed that the legislature did not seem to have serious budget discussions until Monday – July 13th, when people are already not going to be paid this Friday. Why didn’t they have these budget talks a month ago?

  11. The PA FoodBank is on board to help us State workers with bread and milk, but my son is on a special needs gluten free, dairy free diet. What now? I also do not qualify for the loans.

  12. I also work for the welfare office, am single, and have no other means of income. I am not eligible for the 0% interest loans that are offered, and I commute 100 miles a day. I guess I won’t have to worry about gas money after the bank repossesses my car. And the $195/month cash assistance that I may apply for won’t even cover the gas let alone all of my other expenses.

    New information was just brought to my office’s attention regarding the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act which basically states that it is against Federal law for an employer to withhold any employee’s pay and that the Secretary of Labor may file suit for back wages and an equal amount for damages. Every state employee must contact the Department of Labor’s district office to file a complaint at the web address below upon their first incomplete pay.
    Or you can contact DOL’s District Office of Wage and Hour in Wilkes Barre at 570 826 6316 Phila 215 597 4950/ pittsb 412 395 4996

    Fast Eddie better start thinking faster if he’s going to fight 70,000 plus hard working state employees.

  13. Paula, I agree with you! Those working on the budget sessions should have to stay in negotiations until they are in agreement and the budget passes. It is more than disheartening when you have scraped to go to college thinking you can get a “decent” job and then wind up standing in line at the local food bank and borrowing gas money to go to work everyday not knowing when you’ll get paid. I am tired of being expected to do more with less. It was bad enough we didn’t get any raise at all, now this.

  14. Time for state employees to stick together and develope a case of “blue flu”. If the majority of state employees called out sick for two days(our legal limit without a doctor’s excuse) the state’s business would grind to a halt. Imagine anyone going into PennDot and no one there to handle title transfers, driver’s licenses, etc. Imagine a lot of state police being ill on the same day. Imagine the unemployement office unable to deal with claimants. But it will only work if a large number do it at the same days. I’ve got lots of sick time on the books to play with.

  15. A portion of my job function/work time is federally funded for federal surveys which includes survey time and travel funding. During the budget impasse we have been notified that if a budget is not approved we will not be paid after July 17, 2009. Is the Commonwealth misappropriating the federal money by not providing payment for federal survey time?

  16. What we need is a 70,000 stateworker march up and down the streets by the capital and filling the capital to it’s capasity. I wonder how that would pan over. Immagine CNN and Fox news and all the other national outlits.

  17. This is my first time posting. Thanks for all of the valuable information. Other websites seem to devolve into shouting matches, R vs D etc.

    I’m a state employee for 8 years now. I don’t belong to the PSECU, so no loan. I’m fortunate enough to have a line of credit on my home. I’ll take my net pay from there and replace it once we get paid. I’ll still have to pay the interest out of pocket though.

    I’m angry about this mess but I’ve been through much worse. Before coming to work for the state I was on disability for 4 years at the same time two of my children were in college. If I didn’t crack then, nothing these politicians can throw at me will rattle my cage.

    When the time comes and I’m eligible for the food bank and food stamps I plan on taking everything I can get. Then I’m donating every bit of it to an elderly person I know of who is trying to make ends meet on less than 800.00 a month from social security. I know a lot of state employees aren’t in my position but I plan on helping that old woman. I figure if the politicians can go to this extreme to protect their slush funds, lavish expense accounts, friends with 6 figure incomes etc then I can take a couple of bucks from them legally and help someone who truly needs it.
    Again, thanks for this site

  18. BIllW I am right there with you. However I am not going to donate it to my neighbor. I know 2 single moms that work for the state of PA. Both had part time jobs at one point. They still struggled to try & make ends meet. Since I am single, no-one but me & my cat to feed. I am going to go get what I can & help these moms out. I know how much kids like to eat/need to eat. They can & will eat you out of house & home. If I knew a single dad with kids I would do the same for them.

    God bless all of those (us) who are struggling. I am going to say a prayer. The power of prayer can be a miracle.

  19. We will struggle for a while, but if we stand strong we will save our fellow state workers and Pennsylvanians a great amount of future grief. I would love to hear that a budget is passed tomorrow, but if it has a tax hike in it, I will be sick to my stomach. We pay enough, PA pays enough. Spending needs cut, and of course the only spending cuts that are on the public table are the ones they know will cause the most public outcry.
    I truly believe that if we have a budget with a tax hike in it, then we will be worse of in one year than we are now. A Tax hike is no guarantee that this won’t happen again or that local taxes also won’t go up.
    Don’t blink first.

  20. I am very concerned about the LWOP notation on paystubs…we have not been on leave, we have been going to work everyday UNPAID. I would like to know how/why the LWOP will reflect on our work records, retirement, etc. if at all. Court employees are already 13 working days without pay. The paychecks from 7/3/09 were 3 days short and now today 7/17/09, no pay at all. The bills continue to roll in & the landlord & utilities want paid on time or there will be late fees added. As others have mentioned, not everyone is able to qualify for a loan. I feel the memo sent around about a list of banks willing to help get us through the budget impasse was deceiving at best.

  21. Hi Bill, how nice of you to help your senior citizen friend. I can tell you from experience that she probably receives only $14 in food stamps. The way the calculate food stamps is punitive to the elderly living in subsidized housing/heat included in their rent.

    Pennsylvania could choose, under a trial program, to give seniors the heating allowance. That would pump their food stamps up to $150 or even the max $200. New York does it, PA – hell no.

  22. I agree about the lwop on paystubs. That probably means our leave is not accruing. As well as our retirement hours, and seniority (not that that one should matter). It will be a nightmare to straighten out I am sure. And will it be right? SAP no.

  23. Broke State Employee: Did you contact the Federal DOL per posts elsewhere on the site? Did they take your complaint? If not, PLEASE call them on Monday!

    Kairen: I designed, implemented, supported, managed project teams for off the shelf software systems like SAP (specifically Oracle but same animal fundamentally) before I retired. I suspect it will be quite difficult to straighten out.

    My suggestion to you is exactly what I have told my husband to do and posted elsewhere on this site and my blog (I think): Print the last paystub or document that shows your leave and service time accurately. Print the pay stub that has LWOP and every single one thereafter (It’s a crapshoot in my mind if there will be a paystub created or not. IF they coded correctly you may see a stub for $0 that adds up your leave time. If not…the leave time won’t change OR there may be no stub at all for that week! If not DOCUMENT separately the number of hours you worked the pay period dates and print any time sheet you may have to enter into the system!) Print the first trueup pay stub once the budget is signed. Add up the hours accumulated during LWOP and add that to the prior LWOP number. See if it tallies. If not, you have the documentation necessary to insist that they correct the system. Once they’ve corrected any mistakes that may exist, insist on a report (don’t buy into running a Business Objects report yourself….you want SQL data from the system if you can get it) that demonstrates the accrued leave time and service time in the tables. The Union should be able to help you get it if it becomes necessary to pursue it.

  24. LT’s Wife

    They aren’t raising the tax rate to 16%, they are proposing to raise it from 3.07% to 3.57%, a 16% increase.

  25. Someone said all 77,000 employee’s should go to Harrisburg to protest. Nobody has can afford the gas to get there.

    Bill – Thanks for the correction. I was typing fast and got the wording wrong.

  26. You’re right about that LT’s wife! Harriaburg is 2 hours away from us! I don’t even have the gas to drive to Philly to protest and that’s only 75 miles away…and then there’s turnpike tolls…

  27. LT’s Wife,
    No problem. You would be surprised at the number of people I talk to that think the PIT is going to go to 16%. Must be something in the water here in Luzerne County. 🙂

  28. I’m not in Luzerne! lol I am on the western side of the state and the news coming out of Pittsburgh makes it sounds like it is going up to 16% not an increase of 16%.

    I would love to be able to go to Harrisburg & Protest and take our families with us to show them just how big this really is because it is not just 77,000 people. Most of those 77,000 employee’s have dependents.

  29. I am happy to see so many generous state workers that are willing to help other people at this time. I am a single mom also.
    I have found out that our pay stubs won’t read LWOP. They are made up like we are really getting paid. WHAT IS UP W/ THAT???? Something just isn’t right. Mr Rendell doesn’t care about anyone. I am so agreeing on this “blu flu.” I have the time to spare also but it in order for something like that to work it needs to be massive. We need to stand united & sadly everyone will not do it for fear of loosing their jobs. A sick out is against the contract (SEIU). Just like these break outs can only be for 15 minutes.
    I work in the welfare office and what is so crazy upper management just tell the clients we are taking a 15 minute break. This is also in the guidelines of our contract. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?? We are required to help the most vulnerable but at this point we are more vulnearable than they are.

  30. before anyone gets too excited about this law read what I found upon doing a little research. State employees can not file suit against state governments! See below.

    An employee may file suit to recover back wages, and an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. Please note that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Eleventh Amendment prohibits employees of State governments from filing such suits against their State employers for monetary relief in federal courts (under Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44 (1996)), and in State courts unless the State waives its sovereign immunity (under Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999)).

  31. First time here. You guys got it going. I am retired military working at a welfare office.

    Chief: your pension is included, sorry.

    Not getting paid doesn’t bother me until the state sends it’s “what to do during the budget impasse” emails. And it says “do not reply to this email.” Talking about insult to injury.

    I pay some serious money to a union that is oblivious to our needs. Went to “a” union meeting where they weren’t concerned about our paychecks but about the President’s Health Care Plan. Why are they pushing federal initiatives when we pay them to fight for us in Harrisburg? Does anyone understand what I’m trying to say?

    I have a picture of our governor in my house. It’s not on my mantle though…it’s in my basement scaring the rats away.

    This is what I am going to do to solve this since my union, state house, state senate and governor can’t figure this out. I am now registered to vote and I am voting against every incumbent including union elections.

    Another thought is since the budget was not passed by June 30th, the senate, house and governor have violated the law. They should all be arrested and detained at Fort Indiantown Gap. Make them stay in the hot non-air conditioned World War II vintage buildings there like our state soldiers do until they get the job done. Let them eat in the filthy dining facilities there until they pass the budget. Their per diem should then be rerouted to state veteran’s homes or to the families of fallen soldiers. Just some ideas for “yens” to chew on.

    We have been inundating the Feds hoping that they will contact the state and tell them to fix this. Not sure what to do in this case because my union should be doing it for me!

    And that’s as honest as I can be.


  32. Colleen…correct. HOWEVER. Go back to the posts here. While an employee can NOT, the employee CAN appeal to the Federal Dept of Labor. They CAN file a complaint. They CAN ask for the intervention of the Secretary of Labor on their behalf. The Secretary CAN sue the state in court for injunctive relief and damages on behalf of the employees.

    77,000 employees not getting paid is kind of hard for the Secretary to ignore. It’s why we, here at Floor9, on my blog, on the AFSCME site, from the Reps in the House, all are saying the employee should call DOL and complain and ask for the intervention of the Secretary of Labor who CAN seek the necessary injunctive relief and CAN sue for backpay plus double (or triple if the circumstances warrant) the amount of backpay in damage. The caveat is this: probably at the minimum wage level. But then the Unions will have recourse because of the wage violations in the contract.

    I’d be happy with the backpay and the current paycheck frankly.

  33. I am a state worker in PA, this is causing hardship and tons a stress on me and my family. My wife was laid off from her job last year and I am the only provider…..

    I don’t know how Gov. Rendell can get away with this!!

  34. Has anyone talked to AP or any media for that matter? It really concerns me that our plight is not being reported. The general tax payer has no idea what is going on. They have all be deceived into believing that we all got the pay day loans and that we don’t have to worry about the creditors because of the letters we received.

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