Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Day in Worker Paradise

Today, once again a couple of thousand state workers filled the legislative mall in Dover to protest Governor Markell's proposed salary cuts. The event was billed as a "Unity Rally and Candlelight Vigil". Several representatives of the State Workers United spoke including DSEA President, Diane Donohue. Also, state representatives John Kowalko, Brad Bennett, and Tom Kovach addressed the crowd.

State Workers United for a Better Delaware is making Delaware political history. Never before have all the organizations representing state workers and school employees united to promote the welfare of their members. No group has broken ranks in an attempt to cut their own deal; this has no doubt confounded some in power, and impressed all.

There is one more chance to make history. State Workers United is planning an event for June 11th, so stay tuned for details.
In a recent blog I brought to your attention that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with a little help from President Obama, is challenging California's attempt to cut the wages of home health workers. The question is if a state accepts ARRA (federal stimulus) money, can they cut wages?

ARRA requires that states have a "maintenance of effort" to their 2006 spending level. That is the basis upon which SEIU is challenging California law makers.

Initial investigation into this matter would indicate that Delaware may be able to cut salaries and still meet this threshold. We will keep you posted as we investigate further. In the meantime, keep up the activism because most likely we will have to do this the old fashion way with hard work.
The regular legislative session has been on recess this week and will remain so next week while the Joint Finance Committee attempts to mark up the budget. The JFC has virtually no revenue to apply to the budget because gaming is the only revenue legislation to pass so far.

Representative John Kowalko deserves special recognition for being the first lawmaker to speak boldly about the need to raise significant revenue and to put forward a wide array of options. Thankfully, in the last couple of weeks more and more lawmakers have started to talk seriously about revenue. We expect to see legislation filed when the General Assembly returns the week after next.

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