Pima Chapter

July 24, Join the Day of Action to Raise the Minimum Wage!

The 99% Need a Raise!

Raising the minimum wage is an important step toward an economy that works for all of us, not just the richest 1%. Putting more money in the pockets of ordinary Americans will boost our economy by decreasing income inequality, help small businesses grow, and create jobs.

• The minimum wage can’t support our families. $7.65 an hour, the Arizona minimum wage, amounts to only $15,912 a year. That’s over 30% below the federal poverty line for a family of four.

• We get $7.65. They get 725%.  The federal minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation, but CEO pay has risen 725% over the last 30 years and 80% of all real income growth has gone to the richest 1% of Americans.

• A fair chance for a better life.  If the federal minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $10.55.

People who work for a living should be able to support their families and live off their wages.

Join Us on the National Day of Action!  We’re asking people to sign a petition telling Congress to raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.

Stand with us!

In Phoenix:

Tuesday, July 24 from 4 to 6 PM
16th St. & Indian School Rd.

(Click here to download the flier.)

In Tucson:

Tuesday, July 24 from 3:30 to 5:30pm
Ronstadt Transit Center, 215 E. Congress

(Click here to download the flier.)

Together, we can end the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us.

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Legislators go home, finally

“It’s far better the legislature meet every sixty years for two days than every two years for sixty days.” –  Mark Twain

Arizona lawmakers wrapped up their work at 8:25 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 after nearly four months in session. During that time a furious battle raged between corporate-sponsored politicians and Arizona’s rank-and-file public employees.

The politicians wanted to silence you – Arizona’s real public servants. Here’s just some of what was proposed:

•    Prohibit Meet and Confer for State, County and City public employees in Arizona

•    Prohibit release time for union members working on joint projects with management

•    Prohibit payroll deduction of dues or add onerous conditions to maintaining membership from year to year

Fortunately, SEIU members got to work and united with union and community allies to fight back. Here are the results:

SB1485 (prohibition of meet & confer):  We defeated this and prevented it from moving at all.

HB2848 (prohibition of release time):  Even with a last-minute push to get this tacked on to the personnel “reform” bill, we killed this one too!

SB1487 (prohibition of dues deduct) and HB2103 (annual reauthorization):  Despite the protracted efforts by the extremist Goldwater Institute, we killed this bill.

Here’s something else we can all celebrate: last year’s pension split rip-off has been over turned in court and the legislature owes you some money! (Last year the Legislature changed the rate to 53-47 employee-employer; a court challenge forced the legislature to reverse that.)

HB2264 – ASRS Employee – Employer Contribution Rates:  Now public employees will return to contributing 50 percent of the total retirement contribution and the employer contribution will increase to 50 percent.

One win we did not achieve was stopping the Governor’s Pet Project HB2571: Personnel “Reform” that will loosen standards related to hiring, firing, promotions, and disciplinary action. You’ll soon be hearing much more on what you and your co-workers can do in response to this very bad law.

What did it take to defeat this barrage of anti-worker bills? (Or, what has the union done lately?)

Here’s a quick summary:

SEIU AZ sits on the 5 member Arizona Labor Table Steering Committee and was charged with managing the field campaign that included…
– Fielding 20 door-to-door canvassers and hundreds of yard signs in targeted legislative districts;
– Helping to launch a new media social network plan that produced over 20,000 petition signatures in opposition to the anti-worker bills;
– Hosting a Tele-Town Hall – a “mega conference call” that included nearly 2,000 public employees
– Generating over 5,000 calls into legislators and that helped STOP all the anti-union bills.

As the public campaign cools down, the worker campaign heats up!

Public Employees like you want to know:

•    What does “at will” employee mean?
•    What recourse do I have when dealing with an abusive boss?
•    How do I speak up to make things better for the public we serve, without becoming a target for retribution by management?
•    If I report misconduct or corruption, will I lose my job?

To find out, call us and schedule a “Lunch-time” Seminar where you and your co-workers can learn what it means and what you can do about it.

From anywhere in the state, members can call Hector at 520-979-9935 to set up a seminar.

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Open enrollment for Pima County health insurance benefits: April 23 – May 11

SEIU members Maya Castillo, Sofia Blue and Lorraine Dorame are working hard for you on the new Pima County Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, and although we experienced a rate increase this year that was passed before the committee was established, our representatives will continue to fight to get you the best possible rates and benefits in the future.

This year, there are some new incentives to lead a healthy lifestyle that can save you up to $20 per pay period.  To find out more about this year’s plan and incentives, click here.

You can also attend several Open Enrollment Benefits Fairs to find out more about your options for health care plans.  Click here for schedule and locations.

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Join us and take action to protect Arizona workers’ rights! Contact your Legislators NOW!

On Wednesday, March 28, nearly 2,000 public workers connected with SEIU Arizona’s statewide TeleTown Hall to learn more about the anti-worker bills in legislature  and actions they can take to stop the bills.

On Thursday, March 29, SEIU members joined with our allies to send a powerful message to legislators.  Together, we delivered more than 20,000 signatures telling legislators stop attacking Arizona’s working families and start focusing on building an Arizona that works for everyone.

Click here for the story from FOX 10 reporter Dan Spindle. Find out what Senate President Steve Pierce said about the petitions by clicking on this link to Shaima Hahin’s story for Cronkite News.

And on Friday, March 30,  a new poll was released that shows Arizona voters strongly oppose this extremist legislation.  Click here for the story from Arizona Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez. You’ll find more details by clicking here.

Click on this link to tell your legislators to VOTE NO on bills that are bad for Arizona’s workers — and all Arizonans!

Here is just one example of several bills that are bad for Arizona’s working families:

• The Governor’s Personnel Reform Bill – HB2571

This bill:

– Eliminates the Merit System and making State employees “At will.” It’s just a matter of time before it affects all public workers.

– “At will” employees could be fired at any time for any reason and will have no chance of reinstatement unless they can prove illegal discrimination based on, for example, race, age, sex, religion, national origin or disability.

– Public employees could be exposed to the influences of political favoritism, cronyism and nepotism, making public employees pawns in a political game.

– The Merit System was passed by Arizona’s legislature more than 40 years ago to stop this kind of corruption.

From the Thursday, March 15 Arizona Republic,  “…Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said the ramifications of the bill are “incomprehensible.”  “At the end of the day, the governor may be Republican right now, but that may not always be the case…at one point or another, we have to admit we are ceding an incredible amount of power to the executive branch of the state,” he said.  “This will open the door to political cronyism.”  Click here to read the full story, “Senate to consider bill easing rules for firing state workers.”  And check out E. J. Montini’s column, “Making cronyism state’s official public policy.”

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is against the bill, too.  Here’s an excerpt from his editorial on TucsonCitizen.com.  “As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in Pima County, I have had the privilege and responsibility of serving the citizens of this community for over three decades. During that time, I have seen many changes aimed at the betterment of our State. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed several ill-conceived, poorly planned legislative efforts become law.

House Bill 2571 is one such short-sighted, ill-intended piece of legislation.”  Read the full editorial here.

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SEIU Members from Across the State Speak Out for Arizona’s Working Families in a Day of Action at the Capitol

The Day of Action at the Capitol on March 1 was a great success!  Nearly a thousand union members, friends and allies traveled from all across Arizona to fight anti-worker legislation.  We made our voices heard through a tremendous show of solidarity – lobbying legislators and standing together for a powerful rally!

Members told legislators it’s time to stop blaming Arizona’s public service workers for our state’s problems, and start focusing on jobs and the economy.  We urged them to vote NO on extremist bills that target hard-working, middle class, public employees who give their best on the job every day for the people of Arizona.

Here’s brief information about the bills we’re fighting:

• The Governor’s Personnel Reform Bill – HB2571 – starts by eliminating the Merit System and making State employees “At will.” It’s just a matter of time before it affects all public workers.

– “At will” employees could be fired at any time for any reason and will have no chance of reinstatement unless they can prove illegal discrimination based on, for example, race, age, sex, religion, national origin or disability.

– Public employees could be exposed to the influences of political favoritism, cronyism and nepotism, making public employees pawns in a political game.

– The Merit System was passed by Arizona’s legislature more than 40 years ago to stop this kind of corruption.

Status: HB2571 cleared the House Rules Committee last week and now goes to the House Floor for a preliminary vote by the full House.

• SB1484 – Paycheck deductions; employee authorization:   This requires annual reauthorization for payroll deduction for union dues.  It includes an emergency clause because apparently this “is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety” of Arizonans.    If the Governor signs it, it becomes law immediately.

Status: This bill has already passed the Senate and has gone to the House.

●  SB1485 – Unions; public employees; prohibitions:  This prohibits Meet and Confer for all public employees.

●  SB1486 – Public employees; activities; unions; compensation:  This bill eliminates union release hours, so if you are currently eligible to do union business that benefits the County or City, you won’t be if this bill becomes law.

Status: This bill has already passed the Senate and moved to the House.

●  SB1487 – Government employees; union dues; withholding:  This bill prohibits all payroll deduction for union dues. It’s a First Amendment issue this year.

Contact your legislators and urge them to vote NO on bills that are bad for Arizona’s working families!  To find your legislators’ contact info, go to: www.azleg.gov.

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March 1 – Day of Action at the Capitol to Protect Middle Class Workers!

Join us  on Thursday, March 1 at the State Capitol to protect the rights of Arizona’s employees from bills that harm middle class workers and our communities. Together, employees from cities and towns across Arizona will  tell legislators to focus on creating jobs, not taking away workers’ rights.
The Day of Action

9-10 am: Registration
10 am – Noon: Classes and Lobbying
Noon – 1 pm: Lunch
1 – 2 pm: Rally

Bus transportation is available from Tucson (loading at 6:15 am) and Phoenix (loading at 8:15 am).  Reservations are necessary.

To RSVP in metro Phoenix or northern Arizona, contact Akemy Bon-Flores at 602-363-3992 or email akemy.bon-flores@seiuaz.org.

In metro Tucson and southern Arizona, RSVP to Suguey Hernandez at 520-247-4617 or email suguey.hernandez@seiuaz.org.

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Pima Employees: Be Involved in the Selection of the Next Library Director!

A message from Maya Castillo, Pima Chapter President…

There are two upcoming opportunities to be involved in the selection of the next Director of the Pima County Public Library system.  I hope you’ll not only attend one of these events but also wear your purple and represent your union.  We must make our voices heard!

The first of these two events is a public reception to meet the candidates for Director of the Pima County Public Library system.  The reception will be held at the Z Mansion, located in downtown Tucson at 288 N Church Ave.  It will take place on Thursday, February 23 from 4pm-6pm. Four finalists for the position will be available to meet members of the public, provide background on their qualifications and answer a limited number of questions.  Don’t forget that if you’re a taxpayer, you’re a member of the public as well as being a county employee.  Please RSVP to laura.galvez@pima.gov.

The second of the events is for library staff and will take place on Friday, February 24 from 8am-9:30am at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.  Library staff, please refer to our intranet for instructions on how to submit questions for this event.

The library department, like all of the departments that serve Pima County, provides crucial services to many people.  I hope you’ll make plans to attend an event and weigh in on this process.

Interested in learning more about the selection process?  Please click here to read an update from the County Administrator.

In Solidarity,
Maya Castillo
President, Pima Chapter
SEIU Arizona
Local 48

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Show Your Support for PCOA for All Attendant Care Workers!

PCOA for All Inc. Attendant Care Workers take care of vulnerable seniors and disabled persons in Pima County and help to keep them in the comfort of their own homes.

They haven’t had a raise in seven years, and lost 92¢ per hour in retirement funding when they were transferred from Pima County to private for profit PCOA for All, but the board has refused their request for a modest increase.

Email the PCOA for All Board and tell them their Home Care Workers deserve at raise!

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Pima County BOS supports SEIU request for raise for PCOA Home Care Workers!

On January 24, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution supporting SEIU’s request for PCOA For All Inc. Attendant Care Workers to receive a wage increase.  Click here to read the resolution.

From Arizona Daily Star reporter Becky Pallack:

Supes side with union in home-care pay talks

The Board of Supervisors took sides Tuesday in a labor dispute involving home care workers who are former county employees.In a 3-2 vote, the board supported the Service Employees International Union in a resolution that encourages the union and PCOA for All Inc. to agree on a “reasonable wage increase.”

Republican Supervisors Ann Day and Ray Carroll were opposed, while the three board Democrats approved.

In the latest round of negotiations, which began in May, workers have asked for a 22-cent pay raise for 97 workers who provide home care for members of the Arizona Long Term Care System.

The workers are paid $9.60 an hour.

The approved resolution also affirms the workers’ claim that when the county turned them over from the public Pima Health System to the private PCOA for All they were promised the same pay and benefits.

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Stop the closure of Tucson’s Cherrybell Postal Facility!

SEIU Pima County President Maya Castillo (center) at the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting with Connie Sadler-Nelson, President of American Postal Workers Union Tucson Area Local and Stuart Love, President of National Association of Letter Carriers Local Branch 704, standing together in solidarity to stop the closing of the Cherrybell Postal Facility.

SEIU Arizona members are standing in solidarity with mail carriers, postal workers – and the Pima County Board of Supervisors – to prevent the closure of the Tucson Processing and Distribution Center at the Cherrybell Postal Facility. SEIU Pima County President, Maya Castillo, joined mail carriers and postal workers in speaking at the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, January 10.

At the meeting, the Board of Supervisors released a resolution outlining the reasons for opposing the closure:

  • The loss of 440 jobs, loss of $30 million in economic activity, and the loss of $4.8 million in federal, state, and local tax revenues;
  • Delaying the ability of the US Postal Service to identify anthrax attacks and distribute the prophylactic antibiotic treatment to Pima County residents in a timely manner;
  • The violation of state election law concerning distribution of vote by mail ballot and backup facilities;
  • Disenfranchising Native American voters on the Tohono O’odham Nation;
  • Delaying time sensitive victim notification letters required by court rule and statute;
  • Delaying time sensitive court hearing notices to self-represented litigants in both Family Law and Civil Litigation in Pima County Superior Court;
  • Delay of time sensitive road closure notices;
  • Delay of timely mail delivery to and from service members at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Fort Huachuca; and
  • The loss of a local bulk mailing discount, causing unnecessary harm to local businesses.

Here’s how you can show your support for keeping the postal facility open:

Mail a letter or postcard, postmarked by January 12, 2012 to:

Manager, Consumer & Industry Contact
Arizona District
PO Box 21628
Phoenix, Arizona 85036-1628

After that, you can send an email to Southern Arizona’s Congressional Delegation:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
Congressman Raúl Grijalva
Senator Jon Kyl
Senator John McCain

Together, we can save the Cherrybell Postal Facility!

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