Monday, March 21, 2011

Items of Note

Representatives of State Workers United have been meeting with Governor Jack Markell's office about saving money in employee benefits. State Workers United is a coalition of 13 unions representing educators and state workers. The group selected from State Workers United to engage in these discussions are from the coalition's "Big 4": Delaware State Education Association; American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees; Corrections Officers Association of Delaware; and Delaware State Troopers Association.

Both sides of the discussion have been pleased with the results and will be communicating to members and legislators in the near future with details.
The Legislature returned to session on March 15th after a long break during which the Joint Finance Committee worked on the budget. At the current time three big challenges face the legislature. First, the budget remains daunting in spite of some revenue improvement. Second, this is a redistricting year. Every ten years, following a census, state representative and state senate districts are redrawn to reflect population changes. Politically, this can be a highly charged exercise. Districts can be redrawn not only to reflect population, but also Party affiliation. Finally, once again, gambling venues will be on the agenda. For the third straight year, lawmakers will try to decide if they wish to increase the number of sites for gambling in Delaware.
Mark your calendar for Monday, April 4th. Unions have designated this day as a national solidarity day. April 4th, 1968 is the day Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. King was in the city that day to support a strike by sanitation workers. Given the full-scale attack on public employee unions across the country, and given King's own commitment to Labor, this day was chosen to bring attention to places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio where basic rights are being taken from public employees. Local union leaders will be receiving ideas for observing April 4th.

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