AFSCME to the Rescue!

With an impending budget impasse, AFSCME — the union to which most Pennsylvania civil service employees pay dues, regardless of whether they’re a member or not — has come forward in full support of its members with guns a-blazin’.  Earlier this week, AFSCME finally updated their website to reference the impending stop-pay scenario with helpful links to unemployment resources.

There’s just one problem with that:


We can not collect unemployment because we are still employed.  I’m not clear on which is worse; being laid off and collecting unemployment, or being forced to work without a paycheck.  Oh sure, we’ll get paid — but it will be somewhere between 1 and 52 weeks late.  I’m sure Honda, Sallie Mae, my mortgage company, and my credit card company will all understand.  And I’m positive Giant will be willing to just let me take whatever food I need and pay for it “later”.

Thanks, guys.  Big help.  Glad to see you’re on this.

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.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition

Another Year, Another Budget Impasse

Once again, our fearless leaders have warned us that they may fail to pass a budget this year.  What’s different this time around is that instead of furloughing non-critical state employees, Governor Ed Rendell has assured all of us that we will continue to report to work no matter what happens.  Only, we won’t get paid after June 30th.

There’s an interesting law on the books — one that I’m very familiar with, having used it against a former employer — called the Pennsylvania Wage Payment And Collection Act of 1961.  It’s a very simple law to read, and I suggest everyone (state employee or not) take a look at it.  In short, it states that your employer must pay you on your regular payday, that your employer can not delay payment under any circumstances, and that your employer can not waive your rights by making you sign an agreement.  In other words, if you work, you must get paid.  Period.  The act even goes on to clarify that this explicitly applies to salary, hourly rate, commission, and so on.  It’s a pretty open-and-shut law:  If you work, you must get paid on time.

Continue reading Another Year, Another Budget Impasse