Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Proposed Agreement 2011-15

 This is a Damned Good Contract


2011 State Contract Tenative Agreement- FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Re: 2011 State Contract Tentative Agreement

Will there be any rolling furloughs?
No, the contract negotiating team was able to get the commonwealth to back off of any rolling furlough language.

Are there any changes to Alternative Work Schedules?
The Commonwealth will investigate and clarify if necessary the issues surrounding the COP’s failure to respond to AWS requests, the parties will meet to develop boilerplate language and to come to an understanding as to the cost-savings criteria necessary for schedules to be approved.

Are there any changes to vacation leave?
Yes. The commonwealth wanted to cap ALL employees’ vacation leave earning at 20 days per year, however the team was able to fight off this change. The agreed-to language in the tentative agreement will cap vacation leave earning at 20 days per year for employees hired after June 30, 2011 only.

Has the number of personal days been changed in this contract?
The proposed contract language will maintain the current number of personal days. However, if you go an entire year without taking a sick day, you will earn an additional personal day.

Did the amount of sick leave change in this contract?
Yes. The amount of earned sick leave will change from 13 days to 11 days per year. However, if you do not use any sick days within a year you will receive an additional personal day. The sick leave buyout at retirement remains the same.

When will the change in sick days take affect?
The sick day changes will take effect January 1, 2012.

Are there any changes in health care contributions?
Yes. During the first three years of the contract the contribution will remain at the status quo. In the fourth year the contribution will slightly increase. See below for the contribution rates.

Employee Contribution
Employee Contribution with Get Healthy Program
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4

What is the health care contribution rate for retirees?
The contribution rate for retirees will be the same as for active employees, except that it will reduce to 1.5% when the retiree is Medicare eligible.
Are there any changes to the calculation of health care contributions for retirees?
Yes, instead of the contribution being based on your career ending salary, the contribution will now be calculated from your average salary in your last three years of employment.  

Will employees receive any wage/step increases in the new contract?
Yes, employees will receive a total of 10.75% wage increase. The increases will be as follows:
  • July 2011: No General Pay Increase (GPI)
  • January 2012: No Step Increase
  • July 2012: 1% GPI
  • April 2013: Step Increase
  • July 2013: 0.5% GPI
  • January 2014: 0.5% GPI
  • April 2014: Step Increase
  • July 2014: 2% GPI
  • January 2015: Step Increase

Will employees have to pay increased co-pays at the Emergency Room? If so, when does this take affect?
Yes, the proposed contract language includes increased emergency room co-payments from $50 to $100 that would go into effect on July 1, 2012. This change will require a vote from the PEBTF in order to take effect. The PEBTF trustees will decide when to take this issue up.

Can retirees participate in the Get Healthy Program?
No, currently there is no Get Healthy Program for retirees. Most retirees fall under the Disease Management program and can participate in it, but there is no waiver. The PEBTF decides the coverage of benefits dependent on the financial health of the fund. The union will continue to pursue the issue with the PEBTF.

Where can I get more information about my retirement questions?
SERS staff will be trained on the new contract language and would be happy to assist you.

How does the tentative contract affect Triple III’s (Interment Intake Interviewers)?
The tentative agreement language has eliminated the concept of super Triple III’s, which would mean that Triple III’s who attain Super III status will now automatically become permanent UC interviewers. In addition, the commonwealth has agreed to meet with SEIU 668 to discuss the creation of more permanent interviewer positions.

What is a side letter?
A side letter is a written agreement between the employer and the union that has the force and effect of contract language, but does not appear in the contract book. Side letters were obtained to further discuss and to add contract language within a defined period of time for Portal to Portal, Alternative Work Schedules and Statewide Seniority Units.
Are Energy Assistant Workers directly affected in this contract?
The tentative agreement language will maintain status quo for Energy Assistance Worker’s reimbursement for out of pocket healthcare costs.

If I retire before July 1, 2011 will I be able to lock in my Retired Employee Health Plan (REHP) benefits?
The commonwealth contends that it reserves the right to change any aspect of the REHP for employees who have already retired. In the past, the commonwealth has made changes to REHP benefits for those who retired after a labor agreement went into effect. They reserve the right to make changes for all retirees at any time. The process of evaluating and re-evaluating the plan offerings is ongoing every year. There are various proposed changes on the table that could affect the level of benefits and/or the cost-sharing terms. All participants and employees will be advised as soon as a change, if any, is being considered for implementation.

Does the new contract reinstate seniority for those using parental [maternity] leave?
Yes, the contract provides that employees who lost seniority due to parteneral leave utlizlied prior to July 1, 1993, will be entitled to reinstatement of seniority upon presentation of documentation. Due to the complexity of the implementation, this will go into effect in 2012. 

Will the commonwealth be paying back the money they owe to the PEBTF?
No. However, the commonwealth agreed at the table to maintain a three month reserve in the fund. If the reserve level falls below the three month level, as determined by the actuary, the commonwealth must pay in the amount needed to maintain the three month reserve. Any dispute will be resolved by a neutral actuary. If the fund has more than a three month reserve, this amount will remain in the fund.

Is there a third option on a contract vote?
No. Members must vote yes to accept the contract proposal or vote no, which means the Union would go out on strike. In the past members have asked if there was a third option to voting on the contract, which they assume would mean they would reject the offer and continue to negotiate. This is not the case.

There is no such thing as a “third option”.  It is the job of the negotiating team to attempt to get the best possible contract at the negotiating table. To reject the contract offer, but not authorize a strike, does not send a message of strength to the employer. In fact, it demonstrates to the employer that the members are not committed enough to the union’s demands to fight for them. There is, therefore, no incentive for the employer to modify its demands after such a vote.

The negotiating team understands that it has a major responsibility in not putting a contract offer out to a vote without making every effort to get the best final offer from the employer. At that point, whether it is before June 30th or after July 1st, the negotiating team puts a real contract offer in front of the membership. It is the best contract offer that can be obtained from the employer, short of a strike. The members must make that ultimate decision on the employer’s last and best offer; is it acceptable, or is it so unacceptable that you are willing to strike?

June 28, 2011:The Other Events

Chinatown June 29, 2011
Hello world. I was at 8th and Arch in Philly and there was a HUGE line at the PENN DOT Drivers Center. Glad I didn't have to go there! I am also glad that the Segway is not popular. This is one of the most goofy useless inventions ever hyped. See the photo  below to see how on a crowded sidewalk they would be a menace to society. Let the DORKS spend money, the economy needs it.
Now in Chinatown in Philadelphia on the way to training at 7th  and Arch. This is where the African American Museum is located. Hope to get some cheap yummy coffee. Training starts at 10am.
Slipshod Training Material
Speaking of DPW Training, it was really absurd. I could tell it was put together in 6 weeks like they told us. It takes away work from the Earn Centers and puts it back on us. It presumes that we have time to be social workers and job developers. We as CDU have not been trained to do this (well today for 6 hrs) and we do not have the staffing levels and time to do what they would like. I think our welfare stats will drop.
 like a stone as we learn and have stuff change from day to day for the next several months.
Baby boy Crowe was born this morning. His name has not been disclosed as of this time. It's now 7:30. I got the cutest photo taken at the hospital. The boy has this little knit hat on. So Carolyne is babysitting the the dogs at the Crowe's. I am getting milk at the WAWA. I then will do stuff such as taking out the trash. 
Parade of Dorks
I did that stuff and I was offered the use of a friend's computer so I can put in photos and type with 2 hands instead of a thumb. I am pretty good with my thumb but having all 10 of my digits is alot more fun.
Sunset in Millville NJ June 29
The details of the proposed new state contract.are out. Its a really good tentative agreement since the state was really out to cut benefits and pay for the next 3 years. This contract if ratified will be a 4 year contract.  I have a contract meeting on Monday July 11 at the Crowne Plaza  at 18th Street in Philly that starts at 6pm. There SEIU668 members will have the chance to ask questions and a formal presentation will be made about the contract proposal.
I am off next week for a short stay cation. I am sure it will be nice to be away of the controlled chaos of the new CDU regs start hitting the fan. I will be able to be more of a help for the baby Crowe.  I think the diaper change lessons are weeks away.
Well, the 4th of July is right around the corner. Millville is having a parade for the first time since I moved here in  August 2003. They used to have one before but I am not sure when that was.  The Phillies play the Red Sox this week. Tonite Cliff Lee dominated the Red Sox with a 5-0 shutout.
As the Philly Inquirer states:.
He threw a shutout for the third straight game, equaling Hall of Famer Robin Roberts as the only two Phillies pitchers to ever do so. He has not allowed a run in 32 straight innings, the longest streak of his career. It's the longest scoreless streak for a Phillies starter since Roberts twirled 322/3 scoreless innings 61 years ago.
In the month of June, Lee threw 42 of a possible 45 innings in five starts. He allowed one run on 21 hits with eight walks and 29 strikeouts. That yields a crazy 0.21 ERA for June
Well, its now 10:39Pm. I should not wear out my welcome. Thank you for letting me use your computer. I can write a real blog entry with photos on a nite where I am home alone with no puppies.

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Congratulations Jon and Densie

Welcome to the world Baby Boy Crowe
Born: June 28 2011 6:17 am
Weight: 6 Lbs 4oz
Height: 20 inches

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 2011: The Second Half

It is now Saturday June 25 and still
Tues June 21st March for a Fair Budget and Contract
no computer. Oh well, must press on.
It has been an eventful 2 weeks. First
off, Densie will be due to have her baby
next Weds. It is going to be a boy but I
Know not what they will name the child..
In other news, one of nieces wedding planned
for Sept was canceled...
As for work, 2 folks retired from our CDU Unit so
we are shorthand. Our union negotiate a 4 year
contract w/ Gov Corbett. Late Thursday a tentative
agreement was reached. I was amazed that the only
Giveback was losing 2 sick days. The employee
contribution will not increase till
The 4 year of the contract.
Last weekend we had my mother come up for the weekend and get a nice time also today and I will move for my sister-in-law back to south Philadelphia
Moving Day 6-27
Out on the Magizzu front, apparently there is supposed to be some interesting stuff coming out but that's up to the Magizzu watch. around the last week of work before I take off for the July 4 week. I think we did okay our state contract considering what's going on around the country with public employees taking the hit for budget deficits. Can't wait to be able to post on a real computer, blogger does not have a real App. I can not believe that.
Special Effect on Me
Today, Sunday I am at the Crowe's to do some household help. We then have to clear out the Energy Center in Bridgeton since the owners are selling due to the grave illness of one of the owners. We hope Ostara Yoga will find a suitable place soon. There are 2 strong possibilities pending and we will find out this week.
Last weekend we invited my Mother over.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Here we are the second full second week of June 2011. State contract talks are moving at a glacial pace  but again they are still moving.  I found out some information on a person of interest to Cumberland County which is leaking out as I speak. Today seems to be a fairly mild day and so bloody hot. Hope to save enough $$ by July to buy it. So my friends, there will few if any photos. I have not figured how to add photos on Blogger via the iPhone.
I hope my Step-Daughter and husband find a home for their dog. I posted on the famous UC list. I wish it would help.....
The Phillies won 3 of 4 from the Cubs. Howard and Utley looked good.
I had this dream last night where somehow I had $100,000 and then proceeded to spill it in a body of water and bring it to the rock so a bag of some sort I couldn't find the money I sent a couple one dollar bills maybe $100 bill is somewhat disconcerting. I think it made for a restless sleep. Now I think I will do it like I should. I will take a nap along the bumpy Rt 47 as it picks up the elite riders of the Save-A-Lot in Glassboro and Pittman. Watch them jump out of their cars, & look past me for a seat. Oh the glory. Life is good!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dingo Needs A Home

We need to find our beloved dog Dingo a new home. :(  He is a 5 year old mixed breed. He looks a bit like a white German Shepherd or Husky and is about that size. The vet has suggested possibly Akita or Australian Shepherd.

He is a perfect love muffin to us & his four doggie brothers & sisters (and reasonably tolerant of our cats), and has been for the 4 years we’ve had him. That is until recently. He has become very aggressive to our oldest dog, Beazer. Not to sugar coat it, he has attacked Beazer on several occasions. We have no idea why he has suddenly targeted Beazer, with whom he has gotten along fine over the years. We hoped it was going to stop but it apparently isn't. We are about to have our first baby, and don’t have the space to keep all of the dogs and the little one separated or supervised at all times…
We really do love him dearly. He is a great watchdog, and will be a loyal companion for the right owner.  He’s been to the vet and the groomers routinely, and never has a problem in that situation... in fact, they always say how good he is. He’s just developed this "issue" with one of his roommates. He has nipped at my little nephews a few times -- they are too young to handle dogs properly.  I need to stress again a savvy, responsible strong person is the only likely match for him.
Although in general he gets along w/other dogs, we cannot promise which dog he will or will not be aggressive towards so he needs to be the only dog; no children. He is up to date on all of his shots and flea/tick treatment, housebroken, very vigilant and protective, and loves to play fetch. He is an indoor dog and must remain so. He is used to having a big yard in the country to roam around in but is also good on the leash. Used to being spoiled. He is not crate trained and would not do well in a crate. He never soils in the house or chews.
He is very special to us, and we need to find him a loving new home!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Computer Dies and Other Stuff

Hello the big news is that our computer just died. I went to an IT guy at the Annenburg School diagnosed it as being a shot, burned out motherboard. The hard drive is intact and he is saving the entire contents of the hard drive. Now it's time to start looking at what options we have for a new computer.
Last nite had a mellow time at Dhalick in West Philly. Saw Tyrone, an old friend from West Philly from the 90's. His friend Loretta was cool. She knew a lot about computers and motorcycles. 
Today was the hottest day of the year. I was inside the welfare office where it was a busy day!! 
Found out that Joyce has decided  to sell the building. It was quite a shock to hear about this. Not sure what will happen next for the classes that are currently being held there. The price is ok but it does need work. It's 8,000 SQ feet of space. Now on the bus and I should be home by 9pm. Will have to put in the AC's in 2 other rooms and walk dogs. Take out Chinese will taste real good on a day like today.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Motorsports and Early June 2011

Market Frankford EL June 6
5:30 This Morning June 7
Two days in a row for this blog. This will be the first time in awhile I will have done that. Sometimes its too much energy (even with a cup of Joe) to get the energy to type and then run to the bus stop. One driver likes to show up early. Well, he will at least pick me up at Pine Street and save me the walk.
I check out the Vineland Daily Journal and I read that Steve Durst, formally of Union Lake Crossing, wants to buy out the NJ Motorsports Park. This is an interesting development and it seems to be opposed by the current group that filed for Bankruptcy. As the article states;
Durst and Gallagher said if they succeed in taking over the park the group would invest $10 million to $15 million immediately in the facility on a range of capital improvements. The idea is to take the facility's "clubhouse theme" and develop the park as a "total family involvement" recreation spot.

• The group would build a 50,000- to 55,000-square-foot facility for The Racers Group at a cost of about $5.5 million. TRG recently left rented space at the park, criticizing current owners.

• An all-terrain vehicle course and a motocross facility would be developed "on a site not objectionable to area residents," Durst said.

• A "family recreational campground" would be developed.

• Amenities for members and competitors, such as showers, would be added. More vegetation and paving to hold down dust are proposed.

• The group would fully compensate the park's long list of unsecured creditors, largely small area businesses, to the sum of about $2 million.

It appears on the face of it a good deal for the park. The Current owner Lee Brahin does not think this proposal makes sense legally and he notes there will be an auction where the stating bid will be 23 million. This auction will take place sometime next month. I am glad there is interest in the park. I am not sure Mr Durst is the person. I seem to recall, he was going to invest in the old Millville Gardens site in the 3rd Ward. He then pulled out of the project for reasons unknown to me. I am not sure if he will do the same on this project especially when he states the bidding starts 10 million too high. Of course I am not an expert but anyone who bothers to read this can educate me on this matter. I am all ears!

What can I say about Anthony Weiner that has not already been said I think the New York Daily news was funny on this. They have Congressman Weiner and others before him on a 28 page photo gallery. Its pretty funny!
Bus Stop June 6

I am planning to leave early from work to help around the house a bit. I will first be going to a house to feed a cat then off to work.

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Monday, June 06, 2011


Life Remedies 
Its now another Monday morning and we are in the beginning of June 2011.  This weekend we did some house cleaning of the 1st floor. It was needed but of course it took longer then anyone expected. It got done but now stuff has to be moved from the back porch and I need to get home sooner man.
Cleaning Up
Out state contract talks are moving at snails pace and we need a remedy by the end of THIS month of June or we have a problem. The Commonwealth and SEIU668 have only agreed to some minor stuff. I am sure it will go down to the wire like it always does with a new Governor. The resulting contract will suck in several ways, I just don't want it to suck when it comes to the benefits, vacation or sick time. I have saved my sick days like the state wants to. Now they want to remove the incentive to save time at the same time cut our pay if you are sick more then a week. Truly BOGUS dude!!
A friend I met on the 408 and I made up this movie called Foot Tight.

I was reading they are going to make a remake of that GREAT move that stars Kevin Bacon called Footloose. Can you believe that?? We were inspired while on the 2 hour journey to Camden. We are having some good laughs. This move Foot Tight stars Justin Beaver and  Kevin Bacon as his father. Anyway go on the link above and have a good laugh. Hell, we all need a laugh. I KNOW I do.
Lets all try to stay sane this month!!! YEH!!

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Friday, June 03, 2011

End of May. End of Week,

I'm on the 408 bus this morning. It's a really nice morning with none of the humidity of past few days. This week has been very busy at the  welfare office since it's the beginning of the month.  As you know I was that really long Zoning Board meeting with Walmart last night that went on till 11:35!!  The other night I was at Dahlik in West Philly with Pat and Mike for a bit and now it's Friday and here comes another weekend!!  I am going to see the Go Go's in Atlantic City on Saturday night. I am going with Pat and possibly with Jon as well. Should be pretty fun.
I am tired now. I was having the best dream but I had to get up at4:20am so I could get milk and OJ at the WAWA.

Zoning Board Meeting June 2nd

Ronald Gasiorowski Cross-Examining 
Last night I experienced one of the longest Zoning Board Meetings.
Why you ask? Well, its because Wal-Mart is seeking variences to expand its Millville Store by 39,000 feet to make it a Super Wal-Mart. This effort is being opposed by the owners of the Millville Shop-Rite. This was the 2nd Zoning Board meeting that has taken up this request. The main reason was due to cross-examination by Bottino ShopRite attorney Ronald Gasiorowski., who asked question after question to several experts from Wal-Mart. I really give my personal feelings on this but I can say that the meeting went to 11:35 and ended when Mr. Gasiorowski stated he had a medical condition.
This application resumes in July on the first Thursday unless the date is changed due to conflicts.