Friday, October 7, 2011

Some news is good news with the 1021 NewsWire - Oct. 7, 2011

A roundup of recent good news from around the local
City of Albany
 This bargaining unit of 25 members successfully bargained a six percent COLA in return for picking up eight percent of the employees' share of retirement. The parties have agreed on multiple language items and a five percent differential for sewer workers.
Amador County
 Members ratified an agreement to continue with a 36-hour work week, preventing 17 layoffs.
Ashen Dental Source
 Members ratified a 5-year agreement with: No take-a ways; no increases in co-pays or medical premiums; and across-the-board raises -- 35 cents in 2012-2013, 40 cents in 2014, 45 cents in 2015-2016.
Asian Health Services
 Two-year contract was ratified in August with maintenance of health care benefits and no wage increase, but an $800 "hardship bonus" will be given each year.
City of Corte Madera
 This unit of eight members is picking up 1.5 percent of the employer's PERS in year one of the newly ratified contract; in year two they get a three percent raise and pick up another 1.5; same thing in year three. Members will net 1.5 percent over three years.
City of Fairfax
 Our four members here have accepted a two-year agreement where they will pay an additional 1.5 percent of PERS in year one and another two percent in year two in exchange for two float days. The employer can buy the float days back with a four percent raise.
City of Fairfield
 The two bargaining units (totaling about 300 members) just settled a one-year contract with a two-tier retirement (they already had this), but the second tier is 2.5 percent at 55 -- a huge success, a mere 0.2 percent difference from what they have now. They also agreed to share health care premium increases 50/50.
City of Ione
 Members in Ione made some concessions in their new multiple-year contract but have had no layoffs and only limited furloughs. Employees are getting a COLA based on Cities CPI -- around four percent this year.
City of Tiburon
 Employees will pick up PERS cost in exchange for a 3.5 percent wage increase.
Sonoma County Office of Education
 A new contract has been ratified that restores three furlough days from last year. The District agreed to 85/15 split for health plan contributions.
Solano County Mosquito Abatement District
 With the current contract not expiring until 12/31/11, members just settled a two-year deal (until end of 2013) that includes a $1,000 signing bonus paid to each member and employer pickup of 100 percent of all medical costs. They also increased the level of medical benefits.
  During previous negotiations they'd agreed on language where members pay 100 percent of the medical insurance cost but the employer increases gross pay by the amount of any cost increase, then deducts that amount pre-tax. This has the effect of increasing our members' retirement as well as increasing the value of any future negotiated salary increases.
  This is a very small chapter, but this contract finally convinced the last holdout to become a union member.

Fight for a Fair Economy!  Occupy the Bay Area!!
  We are the 99% — and we are fighting back! Occupy Wall Street actions are springing up across the country. This week, take an early morning march through San Francisco or rally at Santa Rosa City Hall.
We 10/12 - 7a - Occupy San Francisco - Federal Reserve Building, 101 Market St., San Francisco
 Web -
 Twitter - - @occupySF - #occupySF
Sa 10/15 - 2p - Occupy Santa Rosa - City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa
 Web -
 Facebook -
 Twitter - - @occupySR - #occupySR
Fight outrageous & unjustified debit card fees -
  Un-fee-lievable! As though the banking industry hasn't done enough to drive the economy into the ground and pound the rest of us into the resulting hole, now they're going to start charging us to use our own money.
  Bank of America just announced it will charge customers $5 a month for debit card purchases beginning in January. That's right, $5 a month to spend your own cash. Even if you swipe your card only once — say for a $2 cup of coffee — you'll still get hit with the fee, making that cup a whopping $7!
  In the end, you'll pay BofA $60 a year for absolutely nothing: Banks already charge retailers a fee that more than covers the cost of the electronic transaction every time you swipe your debit card.
  And it's not just BofA. Wells Fargo and Chase are testing out similar fees to decide if they want to follow suit. 
  It wasn't that long ago that taxpayers had to rescue these same banks because their get-rich schemes drove themselves broke and our economy into disaster. Now they're whining that they don't make enough money off electronic transactions that cost them almost nothing to process.
 If you are outraged by these new fees as we are, click here to take action now. Even if you don't use one of these banks, you can still help hold banks accountable.
  It's time to fight back! Ask your members of Congress to get to the bottom of these new fees right now, before we all get soaked again! Congress should investigate if these fees reflect the true cost of processing customers' debit card transactions -- and if not, do something to stop them.
 Consumers Union: "Defend Your Dollars"
October 24: Medicare Teach-In -
  All union members are welcome to attend this event sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council.
  As Congress' "Super Committee" gets to work finding trillions of dollars in federal budget savings, President Obama has proposed $248 billion in cuts from Medicare and $72 billion from Medicaid ... as a starter. He's also indicated he will support cutting more than $320 billion if Republicans agree with him on taxes.
  The "Super Committee" said last week they want to cut even more than Obama proposed. They'll report how much more on November 19. Congress will vote on the cuts by December 23. Merry Xmas to you too.
  How much will your Medicare get cut? How much more will you have to pay? Come to this teach-in and get some answers.
 Mo 10/24 - 7-8:30p - Plumbers Union Hall, 1621 Market St., San Francisco (5 blocks from Civic Center BART)
 Info: Call Hene Kelly at 415-533-5244 or Carl Finamore at 415-829-3816

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