News and Updates

Real-Time Action Update for 6/24/11

Friday, June 24, 2011

On Wednesday, PBA of New York State organizers traveled to Stony Brook (Suffolk County) to meet with our law enforcement brothers and sisters face-to-face, introduce themselves, and solicit ideas and opinion about changing the dynamic and deeply held sentiment that Council 82 has lost interest in the concerns of ALES members across the state.

We are happy to report that nearly 90 people attended our two sessions, some dropping by before or after their shifts; or by making a point on a day-off to connect with the PBA of New York State. At each of the sessions, and while reflecting on the day, members said they sensed a real change coming, and a sense of optimism. Our team is growing every day; the website traffic continues to surge, registrations now top 400 (An additional 100 this week alone); and new features and access to content are flowing, such as PBA of New York State: Membership Applications; and Real-time Action Updates. I hope you share that feeling of optimism and enthusiasm, and will join us at an upcoming information session in your area in the next few weeks. We are trying very hard to meet in multiple locations during a given day, usually around midday; and then traveling to a new location for an additional session in the late afternoon or early evening. Please plan to join us on: July 6 (Wed.): Niagara Falls & Buffalo July 7 (Thurs.): Cattaraugus/Allegany counties & Rochester July 8 (Fri.): Binghamton & Syracuse July 11 (Mon.): Albany & Saratoga July 12 (Tues.): Plattsburg & Potsdam/Canton July 13 (Wed.): New Paltz & Northern Suburbs July 14 (Thurs.): New York City & Nassau County Please Note: Additional locations and details are being determined. Please check www.pbanys.org for additional details and updates. At the time of this writing, things at the Capitol are humming. The Legislature remains in session and the Governor continues to advance various proposals that have the potential to impact ALES members such as: Mandate Relief As the 2011 Legislative Session comes to an end, Mandate Relief has become a sticking point. While not included in the “framework agreement” touted by lawmakers and the Governor several weeks ago regarding a tax cap and rent regulation, the inclusion of some form of Mandate Relief in a “catch-all” proposal is likely a reality. While still the subject of negotiation, it will likely include the creation of a Mandate Relief council as well as individual provisions repealing or amending existing laws which place mandates on localities. Binding Arbitration Late last week, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos introduced proposed legislation within his conference’s proposal for a tax cap, rent control and Mandate Relief, which will negatively impact binding/interest arbitration. Notably, the proposal would require arbitrators to consider above all other factors, including public safety, the public employers’ ability to pay salary increases and benefits without raising taxes. Tier VI Earlier this month Governor Cuomo announced the introduction of pension reform legislation that would impose a new Tier VI for future state and local employees. It includes the following provisions: Raising the retirement age from 62 to 65; Ending early retirement; Requiring employees to contribute 6% of their salary; Limiting the annual pension multiplier to 1.67 percent; Vesting after 12 years (instead of 10 years); Excluding overtime from final average salary; Using a five-year final average salary calculation (rather than three); Excluding wages above the Governor’s salary of $179,000 from the final average salary calculation; Eliminating lump sum payouts for unused vacation leave from the final average salary calculation; Prohibiting the use of unused sick leave for additional service credit at retirement; and While Tier VI will likely be a top priority during next year’s session, both the Governor and Assembly Speaker have stated that these issues will not be addressed before the Legislature breaks this year. * * * This posting is longer than it should be, but it does demonstrate that your PBA of New York State is covering a lot of ground, and focused on providing you with the type of representation you should expect, and deserve. Enjoy the weekend and be safe.