Month: February 2011

DCSMEC NOTICE-Meeting changes


To All Members:

Please be aware that the regular scheduled March 2011 General Membership meeting has been cancelled due to a conflict with Spring Break.

If anything occurs creating a need for a meeting the President, Don Waugh will call a “Special Meeting”. You can also keep posted on current events and important information at  If you need any further information contact your Steward, Yard Representative or the DCSMEC office (305) 477-6002.


Keith Love

P.S. Who the hell put Spring Break in the middle of March?

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DCSMEC Notice Feb. 23, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters,
Please take the time to watch the videos by clicking the link. Its about a five minute video of the union workers rallying at the state capital in Wisconsin. As I hope you are aware those very same threats to the workers of Wisconsin are happening right here in our own state. Please also take the time to click on the link and sign the statement of solidarity. In these most difficult of times we must come together as one. We at DCSMEC will do everything we can to keep you informed of all that is happening in our state.
In Solidarity,
Keith Love
“When Matthew Wisniewski created an incredible video about what’s been taking place in Wisconsin over the past few days, he said, “Please pass on this video if you like it. It needs more publicity. People need to see why we’re protesting.”

I’m not sure having the AFL-CIO send this video out to our entire e-mail list is quite what Matthew had in mind—but our staff loved this video, and we think you will, too. Matthew’s video shows the unbelievable people-powered energy behind what’s happening in Wisconsin.

Watch the amazing video—it’s a few minutes, but worth every second.

Then, sign our statement of solidarity.

Crowds in Wisconsin have swelled to more than 70,000, with more expected today. What the protesters are doing in Wisconsin is working.

Workers who are under attack—and the communities that know and respect them—have created such a powerful show of solidarity that all 14 Democratic members of the Wisconsin state Senate left the Senate chambers in protest, indefinitely delaying a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-worker bill. And Republicans are starting to waver.

This is the kind of strength it takes to win. We need to make our voices heard whenever and wherever attacks occur, in Wisconsin and in our own states.

Watch the amazing video.

Then, sign our statement of solidarity.

The electricity and energy and solidarity we’re seeing with Wisconsin workers is truly unprecedented. But it is only the beginning. Now, as one supporter said to us on Twitter, “We must keep the momentum going & growing. Now is the time & we cannot give in or up.” That’s true in Wisconsin, and it’s just as true in all our communities.

In Solidarity,

Manny Herrmann
Online Mobilization Coordinator, AFL-CIO

P.S. Here are more things you can do to show your support:

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Union dues in crosshairs of John Thrasher bill

Sen. John Thrasher, former state GOP chairman, looks like he has filed a bill (SB830) to starve unions like the Florida Education Association, SEIU, AFL-CIO, firefighters, police unions or AFSCME by banning the Democratic-leaning organizations from using salary deductions for political purposes. The legislation also says any “public employer may not deduct or collect” union dues, etc. Lastly, it says that any public employee who didn’t specifically authorize the use of his money could be entitled to a partial refund.

The bill doesn’t seem to go as far as Wisconsin’s by ending collective bargaining rights in Florida, though in a right-to-work state there’s only so much union bargaining that can take place. Still, the language about union dues sure looks like it’s right out of the playbook of the tea party and Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker (who incidentally is not a high-speed rail fan, either).

Here are some excerpts from Thrasher’s bill, SB 830, which doesn’t seem to have a house sponsor. Yet.

“Deductions may not be made for purposes of political activity, including contributions to a candidate, political party, political committee, committee of continuous existence, electioneering communications organization, or organization exempt from taxation under s. 501(c)(4) or s. 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.”

“A public employer may not deduct or collect the dues, uniform assessments, fines, penalties, or special assessments of an employee organization from the compensation of any person employed by the public employer…”

“Unless an employee has executed a written authorization, the employee is entitled to a pro rata refund of any dues, uniform assessments, fines, penalties, or special assessments paid by the employee and used by the labor organization of which the employee is a member to make contributions or expenditures, as defined in s. 106.011. The written authorization must be executed by the employee separately for each fiscal year of the labor organization and shall be accompanied with a detailed account, provided by the labor organization, of all contributions and expenditures made by the labor organization in the preceding 24 months.”


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Republicans challenging unions in state capitols

By DAVID A. LIEB and SAM HANANEL, Associated Press David A. Lieb And Sam Hananel, Associated Press Fri Feb 18, 3:14 am ET

Republicans who swept into power in state capitols this year with promises to cut spending and bolster the business climate now are beginning to usher in a new era of labor relations that could result in the largest reduction of power in decades for public employee unions.

But as massive public protests and legislative boycotts in Wisconsin this week have shown, the Republican charge can be fraught with risk and unpredictable turns as politicians try to transform campaign ideas into action.

The question GOP governors and lawmakers are now facing is exactly how far they can go without encountering a backlash. Do they merely extract more money from school teachers, prison guards and office workers to help ease their states’ budget problems? Or do they go at the very core of union power by abolishing the workers’ right to bargain collectively? Do they try to impose changes by steamrolling the opposition, or by coming to the bargaining table?

“The consequences will be rolling forth for many, many years,” said James Gregory, director of Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington. “The battle lines have been drawn and will be replicated around the country. This is going to be very tough for unions and public sector employees.”

In Wisconsin, new Republican Gov. Scott Walker is going for it all — the elimination of collective bargaining rights for public employees plus sharp increases in their health care and pension payments. His plan advanced quickly to the Republican-led Senate, despite several days of protests that drew tens of thousands of demonstrators to the Capitol. Then Senate Democrats suddenly fled the state Thursday, bringing the legislative process to a halt.

Wisconsin was the first battleground. But it is unlikely to be the last.

A similar proposal to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights drew throngs of protesters Thursday at the Ohio Capitol. Hundreds more have demonstrated in Tennessee and Indiana, where Republican-led committees have advanced bills to restrict bargaining rights for teachers’ unions. And governors from Nevada to Florida have been touting the need to weaken union powers and extract more money from government employees to help balance out-of-whack budgets.

The confrontation comes as organized labor is reeling from a steady loss of members in the private sector. The public sector, with about 7.6 million members, now account for the majority of workers on union rolls, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among union leaders, a sense of crisis is growing. Labor is preparing to spend at least $30 million to fight anti-union legislation in dozens of states, according to internal budget numbers reviewed by The Associated Press. They’re lobbying local officials, organizing public rallies, working phone banks and buying television and newspaper ads in a desperate attempt to swing public opinion.

“Plans are being put into place to silence workers, lower their wages, cut their benefits and increase the likelihood that they will suffer injuries and fatalities at work,” said Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “It is happening at a breakneck pace and too little attention is being paid.”

Labor plans to spend large amounts of money on battles in Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Unions see their goal as not just playing defense — as opponents chip away at bargaining rights — but going on offense to try to educate the public about the role of unions.

But last fall’s midterm elections, which brought the defeat of many union-supported candidates and victories by pro-business Republican adversaries, show the difficulty the unions face in a climate shaped by the sour economy. In many states, Republican governors have blamed unions in part for the state budget crisis by negotiating flush benefit packages for public workers that have forced states to slash aid to schools, social services and important services.

Wisconsin’s legislation, for example, not only would eliminate collective bargaining rights but also force public workers to pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases the governor calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector. It’s projected to save $300 million over the next two years to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, citing an estimated $8 billion budget gap, wants to restrict union rights for state workers and in townships, cities, counties, school districts and publicly funded universities. The legislation would generally eliminate salary schedules.

Kasich drew support Thursday from local tea party leader Ted Lyons, an electronics executive from Troy, Ohio, who said the proposed union changes are long overdue. “The labor unions have become so powerful now on a worldwide basis,” Lyons said. “It’s beyond just the benefits of the membership, it’s about all the spending.”

Lyons’ voice was nearly drowned out by a crowd of protesters.

But some other Republicans are intentionally avoiding the sorts of confrontations that have sparked demonstrations.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, the former chief operating officer of computer manufacturer Gateway Inc., won election last November on a similar pro-business agenda and also wants savings from public employee costs. But he’s not seeking to abolish collective bargaining rights and has publicly denounced legislative efforts to strike at union membership and fees.

Snyder wants all government employees to pay 20 percent of their health care premiums. But he’s not ramming the change at unions, and went out of his way Thursday to highlight his desire to work with them.

“As a practical matter, we’re asking for $180 million in concessions, and we know we need to go bargain for that,” Snyder told reporters Thursday after delivering his 2011-12 budget proposal. “We want to do that thoughtfully in partnership with our employees. We’re not here to create threats.”


Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, and Kathy Burks Hoffman in Lansing, Mich., contributed to this report. Lieb reported from Jefferson City, Mo., and Hananel reported from Washington, D.C.

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Legislative Alert!

Florida AFL-CIO · United Labor Lobby

Legislative Alert!

135 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32301 · 850-224-6926 · FAX 850-224-2266 ·




Tell your legislators:



The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee has been holding hearings over the past few weeks concerning radical changes to Florida’s public pension systems, both the FRS and local plans.  In spite of the fact that all of the information indicates our pension systems are strong and contributing to our overall economy, some seem determined to continue a dangerous course.  This Friday, February 18th at 8:00 AM they are holding a public hearing on pensions in Tallahassee.  All workers and retirees are needed to contact your elected officials and tell them to leave our public sector pensions alone!

  • Florida’s budget is facing an over $3.5 billion deficit yet they are still talking about tax cuts for the wealthy and eliminating all corporate taxes! In order to pay for those tax cuts, they want to raid our pension systems which are some of the strongest in the nation.
  • Legislators want to force public sector employees to pay 5% toward their pension contributions, amounting to a new income tax on our teachers, firefighters, police officers, state and local government workers.  Public servants who have sacrificed raises over the past few years to balance state and local budgets and are paid at levels below their private sector counterparts.
  • Closing the Defined Benefit plan for all new hires, forcing them into risky 401k plans where Wall Street will gamble with our tax dollars.  Forcing all new hires into defined contribution plans will cost all taxpayers $150 million the first year, $300 million the second, $450 million the third and so on until 2018!


If you can travel to Tallahassee, please contact Phyllis Garrett at

If not…



We need all private sector workers to stand in solidarity with our public counterparts, this is just the first attack of many this session…when they come for you your public sector brothers and sisters will be there!

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NEW! Legislative Brief

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
As the opening bell of the 2011 Legislative Session approaches, the Florida AFL-CIO is preparing all of our various communication outlets to ensure you have the best, up to date information about what is transpiring at the Capitol, how it impacts your membership and most importantly, how you can get involved. 
·         Our Legislative Update is a weekly, print publication that will be mailed to all of our affiliates and activists with detailed information on the legislation we are monitoring and how it is progressing through the legislative process.  These will also be posted each week on our website.  The first Legislative Update will print on or around March 18th.
·        Our E Messenger twice weekly electronic newsletter resumes next week and will be used to keep you up to speed on what is going on in the legislature as well as political, economic and Labor news from around the state and the country.
·        We will issue Legislative Alerts via email using all of our various databases whenever action is needed from our local leaders, members and activists.
·        We are gearing up our Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media capacity to build a strong online community that can react quickly and decisively when needed on important legislation. 
In addition to the various communication outlets above, we will also be sending the below Legislative Briefs to all of our affiliates each Friday.  These will offer very brief outlines as to what happened during the days prior and updates as to what is coming in the weeks ahead.  We encourage you to forward these to your members, friends and family as we work this session to beat back the attacks on our workers, retirees and their families.
Rich Templin

Florida AFL-CIO
Legislative Brief
A quick look at the Florida Legislature’s activities for the week of:
Pensions: The move to dramatically change Florida’s public pension systems continued to progress this week.  Senator Jeremy Ring, chair of the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee is leading the process in the Senate.  The biggest changes to the pension systems currently being considered thus far include:
·        Forcing all Florida Retirement System (FRS) members to contribute up to 5% towards their pension.  This would essentially equal a 5% pay cut.
·        Closing the Defined Benefit pension plan to all new hires and place them in a Defined Contribution type plan (401k etc.). 
·        Make changes to the Premium Tax allocation so that local governments can use those funds for purposes other than pension enhancements for first responders.
The Florida AFL-CIO has established the Public Employee Coalition with representatives from all of Florida’s public sector unions regardless of affiliation with the State Federation.  This coalition has been working with members of the House and Senate, has coordinated 4-weeks of testimony in Senator Ring’s committee and has ongoing meetings with editorial boards across the state.  On Tuesday, the Florida AFL-CIO coordinated testimony before the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, capping off four weeks of testimony from all of the major public sector unions in Florida.  Dwight Mattingly, President of ATU 1577 and Rich Templin, Legislative & Political Director of the Florida AFL-CIO presented summary finding regarding the health and stability of Florida’s public sector pensions, the perils of the changes the legislature is contemplating and the impact they would have on Florida’s public sector workers and the state budget.  Our coalition efforts have had great success in pushing back against this attack on our pensions but there is a long way to go.   Bill language is expected the week of February 21st.  There may be public hearings that week in Tallahassee and we will need as much participation as possible so please keep an eye out for announcements. 
Unemployment Insurance: The Florida House moved quickly on bill (released only late last week) that radically changes Florida’s Unemployment Insurance system to the detriment of Florida’s workers.  The House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee voted out
HB 7005 with a 7-4 party line vote on Thursday, February 10th.  The major components of this bill include:
·        Making it easier to lay off or terminate workers without providing unemployment benefits
·        Placing additional hurdles in front of workers trying to get benefits
·        Reducing the weeks of unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks with the maximum being as low as 12 weeks in times of low unemployment
·        A reduction in the “Experience Rating” tax rate that businesses pay into the unemployment trust fund by 10%
As the recession began and the unemployment rate increased so did the taxes paid by businesses to cover the workers they laid off.  Business lobbyists succeeded for the past two years in delaying paying those taxes so now the Unemployment Trust Fund is insolvent.  It is time to pay the bill but these same lobbyists are now using the trust fund insolvency to permanently weaken unemployment system so that they will never have to pay benefits for the workers they lay-off.  This amounts to punishing the victims of this recession in order to give a bailout to some of Florida’s most powerful and profitable businesses.
A similar albeit less drastic bill (SB 728) has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Nancy Detert, Chair of the Commerce and Tourism Committee.  The Senator has pledged to take a measured approach and carefully weigh all of the options before proceeding so no vote was held in its first committee hearing on February 3rd.    
Rich Templin, Ph.D.
Legislative & Political Director
Florida AFL-CIO
(850) 224-6926 / (850) 566-4348 cell
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless
means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” – Paulo Freire

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Gov. Scott won’t push for voucher expansion this year

Gov. Rick Scott on the campaign trail — and again shortly after he was elected — vowed to push for one of the nation’s most expansive school voucher programs.

But Scott — who last fall called for a “new era in education” — acknowledged on Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to push through his ambitious plan during the 2011 session.

Scott said that he still believes parents do a better job of choosing schools, but he said that for this year his ‘focus’ will be to “make sure we have more charter schools going forward.”

“We have a lot of choice now, I want to expand that choice,” Scott said.

Read more —->

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Top state lawmaker wants to limit use of union dues for politics

TALLAHASSEE — – A leading Senate Republican has filed a bill that could strip unions of some of their political strength, barring payroll deduction for union dues and prohibiting dues from being used for political activity without written consent.

“I think it’s a freedom issue for people who now are conscripted to having their money taken out of their paychecks,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine. “I think it’s more of a thing where they can volunteer to decide what they want to do.”

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Gov. Scott proposes spending cuts, lower taxes

EUSTIS – At a highly partisan tea-party event on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his first budget proposal, one that makes sweeping changes to state government by slashing billions in taxes and spending.

Scott proposed spending almost $66 billion — $4.6 billion less than this year’s budget. Scott also wants to eliminate 7 percent of the state’s government jobs, which would mean about 6,700 state-worker layoffs. He wants even more cuts the following year.

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