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Workers' union publicly protests city takebacks
Original post made
on Jun 9, 2009
The closed-doors negotiations between Palo Alto and its largest workers' union turned public and testy Monday night when hundreds of city employees packed into the City Council meeting to protest the city's latest proposal that includes cutting back some benefits.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 12:22 AM
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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm
A response to the previous SIEU posting:
Posted by Lynn Krug, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, 11 hours ago
In times like these it is well to consider how our monies are spent and to cut back. SEIU is willing to do their part to respond to the downturn in the economy. We have offered to consider furloughs and/or defer raises as did police.
SEIU employees are: Water Quality Control Plant workers, Librarians, Electrical Linemen, Rangers, Adminitrative [sic] Staff, Facilities Workers, Art Center, Jubior [sic] Museum, Utility Operations, Engineering staff, Police and Fire dispatchers, Planners, Theatre, Parks, and Community Services, Golf, Public Works Streets, Storm Drains, and more. It takes the work of us all to make this city run, and to provide the great services Palo Alto residents receive.
FACT: SEIU Employees already recieve [sic] 1.44 less than median wage for the 10 comparison ciites [sic] in the area for all compensation.
And you cite what documentation to back up this claim?
FACT: Palo Alto Employees do not have Social Security paid into [sic].
Many residents assume that Palo Alto employees have social security benefits paid into...we only have California's Pers Retirement paid into. The city does not contribute to Social Security.
What in the world can this poster be talking about? CalPERS pensions are generally more generous than Social Security. Is it not true that all SEIU full time employees have City provided CalPERS contributions paid from the General Fund into their personal accounts?
Post-retirement benefits have become so unsustainable, that the Governor has recently begun to talk about the impact on the State's finances. Vallejo has already declared bankruptcy, and now Oakland is considering the possibility.
FACT: Palo Alto SEIU workers are the least paid of the Palo Alto union/units.
And your point is? The SEIU jobs require the least education, the least accountability, the highest amount of management, and are jobs which should be outsourced to the private sector to reduce costs.
FACT: The sustainability index for Santa Clara County was $59,960 in Spring 2008 for one parent , one preschooler and a grade school child.
Again, your point is?
FACT: The City of Palo Alto has ...and owns 5 libraries and MANY properties that it cannot afford the upkeep for.
FACT: The ratio of managers to SEIU is 1 manager to 2.7 SEIU.
What private industry would survive this number of managers to employees?
FACT: The retiree employee Hugo Chabaneix contributed 100's of thousands of dollars to the Palo Alto and industry coffers by his 3 industry inventions. In private industry he would have been rewarded for his inventions and recieved [sic] a percentage of profit. He did not.
How exactly did Mr. Chabaneix contribute to the "coffers" of Palo Alto? Perhaps the poster could clarify exactly how this money came to Palo Alto? As to being rewarded by private industry for "inventing something", the poster should perhaps provide some documentation to cover statements like this one. The reality is that 9 out of 10 "Venture" backed companies go out of business before ever getting a product to market. Employees usually sign over their intellectual property rights to their employers, in consideration for their salaries, and sometimes stock options. Since most stock options end up being worth nothing, employees in many Silicon Valley employees who do develop ideas that lead to patents, or products, are not "rewarded" for their work beyond their salaries. Did Mr. Chabaneix get a salary, benefits when he was working for the City of Palo Alto (and a pension for the rest of his life)?
FACT: Retirees in Palo Alto who were hired before 1977 and recieve [sic] a utilities [sic] discount benefit are few in number - SIEU Employees for many years now cannot afford to buy a home in Palo Alto...much less retire here.
Most people who buy into Palo Alto are not "retirees". Why should SEIU retirees be any different than the rest of the world?
FACT: Palo Alto SEIU employees have picked up the bulk of the work for the frozen or vacant city positions over the last 3-4 years. without reductions in daily services to the citizens.
This is one of the bigger "red herrings" that often is interjected into this sort of discussion. Labor unions generally force over-staffing on their employers, have high absenteeism on the job, and typically do not work at the same level of productivity that one expects from similar folks in the private sector. Walk into any office at City Hall, and you see people standing around talking, not at their desks, or can't answer even the simplest questions. Sometimes it is a wonder that services ever get rendered at all. All one has to do is read the Children's Theater (CT) Police Report, and the CT Police Investigation Probe Report to get a sense of how incompetent the people associated with the CT have been in the past, and how mismanaged the Police Department has been in the near-past.
Sorry .. but asking people to actually do their jobs should not be too high an expectation of municipal workers.
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Posted by Wilson
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 16, 2009 at 9:13 am
The following is a response to "The Lineman's Wife":
Posted by Trisha, a resident of another community, 1 hour ago
O.K. all you liberal losers and Dot-commers! Since you obviously don't get what it means to "work for a living", let me just tell you....as a wife of a lineman, I can tell you how hard lineman work.
The sacrifices they make, especially when they get a phone call at 1, 2, or 3 in the morning because your power is out. Or when they're out in the storms and cold while you sit warm in your mansions, they work in the dark under severe circumstances.
> The lineman that work for your wealthy city can't afford to LIVE in your city,
Really? And why not? Most people who have purchased homes in Palo Alto in the last twenty years are two-income families. What is you and your husband's combined income?
> some have to commute as far away as Manteca ..
But this is by choice, is it not? To suggest that these people can not afford to live in Palo Alto, and can only live in places as faraway as Manteca asserts (albeit tacitly), the PAU Lineman can not live in East Palo Alto, or Mountain View, or Sunnyvale, or San Jose, or Morgan Hill, or Fremont, or Newark, or any number of cities, localities, much closer than Mantecabecause all of the housing in these places is also "too expensive". This is very hard to believe. Very hard to believe, indeed!
>Lineman need to be paid AS MUCH AS a fireman or policeman. They need
> to be separated from the other workers in Palo Alto and have their own union
> as they are a specialized group and VERY UNDERPAID.
Newsflash, "Mrs. Lineman's wife" .. PAU lineman are very well paid. If you had taken the time to read the Feb. 3rd edition of the Daily Post, you would have noticed that at least eight (8) of the linemen took home at least $100K last year. Most people in Palo Alto don't make $100K a yearno matter how much you might claim to the opposite.
> So stay in your lilly [sic] white houses, shop on Univesity [sic]
> Avenue, but just ask yourself when your power goes
> out...."Who you gonna call?"
The City of Palo Alto has for some time now been contracting for electrical line work with a private contractor, by the name of Pacheco Utility Line Builders:
Pacheco's expertise lies in the following areas:
The contractor's services include the replacement of poles, transformers, air switches, connectors, insulators, overhead conductors, and any other miscellaneous work related with overhead line construction. In addition, the crew will be available to assist Electric Operations for general maintenance and restoration of power during emergency and storm situations.
So .. when the "call goes out" .. the PAU is not the only one there to respond.
Palo Alto does not suffer from a lot of "bad weather". It's been a long time since anyone can point to a six-foot snow, or icy power lines that were on the ground, or all of the poles ripped from the ground, like Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland experienced in September of 2003, from a late-season hurricanewhich took out the power grid of the eastern seaboard of Virginia for over a month.
Maybe lineman do get called out, from time-to-time, at night, or during the once-a-year storms we have in Jan/Feb, but there really are not that many outages here in Palo Alto to begin with.
Mrs. Lineman's Wife, you seem to be very unhappy, being associated with Palo Alto, its residents, and your husband's working relationship with us. I suggest that you (or he) take the time to unburden yourself of this self-imposed obligation, and look to other employers for your husband's "talents":