83rd Legislative Session
|CEC 7 Staff and Locals
Toby Tobias and Brian Olsen
83rd Legislative Action
San Antonio Republican Joe Strauss was easily re-elected Tuesday on the opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislative session.
Effective 01-12-13 we will initiate our Legislative updates on bills filled as they relate to TDCJ and/or Corrections, or bills of interest, i.e. bills relating to this Council's "Dues Deductions" Provision. Considering some 5,000 bills could be filed during this 140-day session (this averages almost 38 bills per day), we expect bills will be filled that do not have TDCJ or Corrections in their captions, never the less, they could have direct or indirect impact on Corrections. The first day of the session, 01-08-13, 14 bills were identified from the Legislative web site, on of which is HB 231, which we identified and faxed out a couple of weeks ago.
As this session lights up, it is possible we could overlook bills of importance. So if you find one we have not picked up, please let us know immediately.
Thanks for your attention on this important function of identification.
"The 83rd Legislative Session is off and running."
Stand Up and Speak Out!
January 8, 2013
As the Texas Legislature prepares to re-convene on Jan. 8, 2013, this should have special meaning for AFSCME members and non-members alike.
Correctional Officers, you are reminded that it is critical for you to introduce yourselves, and meet your Senators, and members of the House of Representatives. Go to their home regional offices or the Capitol offices in Austin, and let them know that you are a constituent, and that you are watching what they do!
On March 21, and May 16, 2013 you are having 'Lobby Day' at the Capitol in Austin. If possible attend in uniform, and make a statement--"HERE WE ARE, AND WE ARE WATCHING, AND WE ARE AWARE!!"
Correctional Officers, it is your right to speak to your elected officials, but more importantly--YOU ARE OBLIGATED TO STAND UP, AND SPEAK OUT!
If you do not know who or where your elected official is, contact the AFSCME local, or the AFSCME Regional Office in Huntsville at 1-800-374-9772.
C.O.s DO YOUR PART--AFSCME DOES!
Public Employees Defined Pension Plans
July 20, 2012 - by Toby Tobias
CEC 7, Huntsville, TX
The age-old axiom: A new broom seldom sweeps clean, is perhaps true; but also true is even though a new broom seldom sweeps clean, it is amazing how many people are allergic to dust the new broom makes, whether or not it sweeps clean.
So, here is a dustup for you: Public Employees Pension Plans are under a brutal and well-planned attack by "big money people and large corporations." Why? The vast and staggering amount of dollars accumulated in the aggregate of your statement plan is truly a goodly amount of money.
Hardly a week goes by that there isn't a newspaper article or television news comment regarding public employee pension plans. Bear in mind in the state of California the voters in the cities of San Jose and San Diego have passed resolutions against their public employee pension benefits and this philosophy appears to have found fertile ground in the East where we hold residency.
The real question here is why outsiders such as John Arnold (Houston) and his foundation, The Koch brothers and "Alec", the political arm of the Koch brothers, are so interested in taking a defined pension benefit plan. The ALEC Group has been known to write their own legislative bills and have State House Members file it for them. Because ALEC gave a house member a political contribution? Could it be that they have some affiliation with investment brokerage firms and could make mega amounts of money from fees charged to only contributions such as 401K plans or other such plans, and from these, in the name of conservative government, would either change or take away your existing pension plan?
Please remember we Texans have a general election coming up in November and it is very important to ask our state legislators, both incumbents and those aspiring to be elected, just exactly where they stand on the question of changing public employee pensions from the current and long-held defined benefit to a defined contribution.
If they give us the answer we are looking for, then we know whether to vote for or against them. However, if they hedge on the answer or talk around the issue we suggest a vote against them. There is no point in taking a chance on someone who will not take a stand.
We suggest a united front in combating this coming storm by standing in solidarity with one another. One way of being united is to consider joining your fellow employees in the Union (currently around 5,000 strong). AFSCME/CEC7 has stood for employee rights and their general good and welfare for over twenty years. After all, there is and always has been strength in numbers.
AFSCME-CEC7 already is geared up to take this issue head one, along with privatization and anticipated health care changes. Please feel free to call 1-800-374-9772 if you have any questions or require additional information. You may also log on to our website - CEC7.org - and browse at your leisure.
In closing, to those outside organizations, BRING ON YOUR BROOMS! We intend to show up with high-powered leaf blowers and see who can stir up the most dust.
I would like to thank all the correctional officers who participated in the AFSCME survey. We devised, in conjunction with the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a survey on our website to ask CO's about their working environment. It was very insightful. Please take a look and feel free to e-mail the council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislative Agenda 2012-2013
February 15, 2012
The legislature will reconvene January 1st, 2013, and we must be ready to fight to survive. Make no doubts as public state workers, we will be under the gun. There will be even more attacks than the last legislative session. The Tea Party influence works against state correctional workers, and if you don't understand that, then it is time to read up on their agenda. That agenda includes taking back pay raises, privatizing state prisons, and taking away current and future retirement pension plans from state employees. This is their goal. This is what less government means. They want your job gone!
This is our agenda for the 83rd legislature:
- Protection of our current medical insurance. They want to cut many aspects.
- Protection of our current retirement pension plans. There is a push to make it 401(k)'s only.
- Stop any more privatization of state prisons or departments. Tea Partyers want it all privatized.
- Stop proposed pay roll-backs. We stopped it in 2011, but it will resurface.
- Unit access by qualified employee organizations (AFSCME) is the only qualified organization.
- 4th step in the grievance procedure, which will be either mediation or arbitration, as the 4th step.
- Modest pay raise of 3%, 1.5% for each biennium.
- Stop any more layoffs.
- Tuition reimbursement bill to be reintroduced.
- Stop the huge turnover rate for officers.
- Compression of the career ladder from 8 years to 5 years.
2011 82nd Legislative Session will be a Bloodbath for State Employees
February 23, 2011
Under the guidance of Senator Tommy Williams (R / The Woodlands) and Warren Chisum (R /Pampa), the Texas Conservative Coalition is after state employee's pay and benefits. In Senate Bill 1 under Article V, both a roll back of the 2010 and 2011 pay raise is in place, which may make TDCJ Correctional Officers the lowest paid in the United States. Texas Correctional Employees have one of the highest turnover rates in the United States.
A reduction in the Texas Employee's Retirement System funding would force ERS for the first time to impose a $125 monthly premium from State Employees and retirees on basic health insurance. Texas has one of the lowestpaidcorrectional officer's salary states in the United States, ranking 47 in the nation on the state correctional officer pay scale.
This session some rich uncaring legislators wish to balance the state budget on the backs of underpaid state employees, while increasing the prison population, creating more work for TDCJ Employees. The average correctional officer stands to lose over $300 per month from their paycheck if some of the Texas Republican leadership has its ways.
TDCJ EMPLOYEES MAY GO ON STRIKE BY QUITTING
Who is on the Menu
January 12, 2011
This article is written for those of you who are concerned, and value your jobs. It is written for those of you want to support themselves, your families, and care about the welfare of your fellow correctional officers.
The Legislature of the State of Texas meets in Austin every other year. This year 2011, is a year that the Legislature meets, and it is doing so now - from January to June, 2011.
During the Legislative Session laws will be passed that will have a direct bearing, and effect, on you, your job, and your families.
We have all heard about the "State Deficit"! What exactly does that mean, and why should you care? The Deficit means; because of the economic times the State of Texas is projected to have to spend more money than the State will take in. By Law the State of Texas can not do that. The State must 'Balance the Budget'!!
Again why should you care? Because, to balance te budget the State will have to cut spending (cut jobs, salaries, benefits - and on and on.) I hope you as a Correctional Officer, (a State Employee) get the picture.
Correctional Officers in the State of Texas are in serious jeopardy!!! Who stands on the WALL, protecting, and fighting for you? The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees does!!
AFSCME staff members visit the Texas State Representatives, and Senators; in the year they are not in session, in their local, and regional offices. During the session AFSCME staff members walk the corridors, halls, and floors of the Capital in Austin. They are in and out of every Legislators office, pleading, asking and demanding - with one purpose only - BENEFIT THE CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS!!
There are two things you as a Correctional Officer can do to help yourselves.
1.) Call your Senator, and/or State Representative. If you need their address, or telephone number, or e-mail, or if you need to find out who does represent you, call the local AFSCME office or the regional office in Huntsville (1-800-374-9772).
Each Legislative Session AFSCME sponsors a "Lobby Day". Get involved, go to Austin with your fellow C.O.s, and voice your opinion.
2.) Join the AFSCME union and help fight for yourselves. Look at the website cec7.org, see what the Union is doing for you, and see what the agenda is.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS REMEMBER THIS:
"If you don't have a seat at the table - You will be on the menu!"
If you Correctional Officers don't fight for your pay, your jobs, your benefits, your professional respect - YOU WILL LOSE! Just how much can you afford to lose? It's up to you!!
All C.O.s should be thankful for those of you who are members of AFSCME, you are fighting the fight!
GOD BLESS AMERICA - GOD BLESS TEXAS - GOD BLESS THE UNION
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