April 20, 2014
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What's New at AFSCME 17
From the Desk of President Ray

Updated On: Feb 12, 2014 (11:38:00)

 In early November of 2013, I was granted the honor of becoming the President of the Louisiana AFSCME Council 17 at the 57th Annual Convention.

Although I have only attented a total of three conventions, I have found them to be very productive in advancing all causes that are held to the utmost importance of labor's cause. However, the November Convention had a different atmosphere and somehow felt more consequential than previous conventions. There was a clear sense of urgency in the Convention Hall. 

All delegates in attendance were well aware that the very visibility of the labor movement in the State of Louisiana is being threatened by the Governor's "re-organizational" plan to close all healthcare facilities, hospitals, and Medicaid Offices by privatizing, outsourcing or cutting services to citizens...ultimately costing many state workers their jobs. 

But, despite this treacherous plan, AFSCME remains uplifted and more determined than ever to unite in solidarity. Knowing that we are facing historic challenges, we are more motivated than ever to fight and become more creative...to think outside the box.

I would like to take this time to encourage each officer, staff personnel, as well as our rank-in-file that we absolutely must remain steadfast. We are the beacon of hope for all those workers who simply want a fair shake to earn a decent living, take care of their families and enjoy a dignified retirement.

As your President, I pledge to work hard in the following ways:

  1. I plan to create a comprehensive strategy to confront our adversaries and meet our challenges from a position of strength.
  2. I will seek help in reorganizing and developing an "Action Plan" for our Council 17 Executive Board.
  3. I will be more inclusive by utilizing our local Presidents, officers, as well as rank-in-file.
  4. We will reach beyond our AFSCME affiliates/membership base to include other Government bodies, state and local organizations, as well as our churches and other civic groups.
  5. Our office and field staff personnel must and will play a major role in this fight for worker justice.

In conclusion, central to this agenda, I realize the fundamental right of all workers to organize and bargain collectively for a better life for themselves and their families without any fear of intimidation, coercion, harrassment, and retribution from their employers. We must be bold in our action and begin to work together in order to be successful in creating a commitment to workers' rights, economics and social justice for all state workers.

As your President, I need your support as well as your cooperation in order that we might turn these goals into a reality. 

In Solidarity for a better tomorrow,
 
James E. Ray Sr.
President of AFSCME Council 17
SB 440

Posted On: Mar 11, 2014 (12:11:41)

Please call and tell Committee Members to vote NO to S.B.440 by Senator Daniel "Danny" Martiny. This is a bill that threatens payroll deductions. 

 

Senator A. G. Crowe                                       (985) 643-3600  Chairman

Senator Edwin R. Murray                               (504) 945-0042  Vice-Chairman

Senator Ronnie Johns                                   (337) 491-2016

Senator Robert W. "Bob" Kostelka              (318) 362-3474

Senator Daniel "Danny" Martiny                   (504) 834-7676

Senator Barrow Peacock                              (318) 741-7180

Senator Neil Reiser                                       (318) 649-0977

 

 

Extremely Important !!!

Updated On: Mar 11, 2014 (12:36:00)

 Please call members of Labor Committees and tell them to vote NO on:

HB 172 by Representative Kirk Talbert

and

HB 451 by Representative Alan Seabaugh

These are bad bills that seek to stop payroll deductions.

 

Thanks,

Ina Laborde

Ed Parker

Council 17 Staff

 

R- Broadwater, Chris                         (985) 543-4900 Vice Chair

R- Bishop, Stuart J.                            (337) 981-7409

D- Cox, Kenny                                     (855) 844-8583

D- Dixon, Herbert                                (318) 487-5661 Chair

D- Guillory, Mickey                              (337) 457-0194

R- Harris, Lance                                 (318) 767-6095

R- Hodges, Valarie                            (225) 791-2199

D- Hunter, Marcus                              (318) 362-3440

R- Kleckley, Chuck                             (337) 475-3016 Speaker of House

D- Leger III, Walt                                 (504) 556-9970 Speaker Pro-temp

D- Pierre, Vincent                               (337) 362-2330

I- Richard, Jerome                             (985) 447-0999

R- Schexnayder, Clay                        (225) 473-6016

D- Smith, Patricia H.                          (225) 342-7106

R- Stokes, Julie                                  (504) 468-8603

R- Whitney, Lenar                              (985) 858-2970

D- Willams, Alfred                             (225) 382-3243

 

 

Civil Service Panel Rejects LSU Layoffs

Updated On: Jun 06, 2013 (10:16:00)

 Civil Service Commission rejects hospital privatization plans 

Some commissioners complained about the lack of information provided by LSU as they were confronted with making such a major decision.

An LSU official said efforts would be made to get the commission to reconsider its decision prior to the planned June 24 transition from public to private operation of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles.

Later Wednesday, the commission posted notice of a special 8 a.m. Monday meeting, at which LSU would try again to win commission approval.

More than half of the state employee layoffs would occur at LSU’s Interim Hospital in New Orleans. Layoffs are scheduled for June 24.

In anticipation of the privatization, the public hospitals have no money for operations starting July 1, said Michael Kaiser, chief executive officer at LSU Health Care Services Division. Absent commission approval, “we would need to figure out what other action we would have to take,” Kaiser said.

Shannon Templet, director of the Civil Service agency, said layoffs could be approved separately from the contracts based on a lack of funding. If LSU moves forward with the contracts after a commission denial, the commission would have standing to go to court to file an injunction challenging the pacts, Templet said.

The commission voted 4-3 against the agreements that are part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s move to privatize hospital operations at nine hospitals in LSU’s 10 hospital system.

Contracts outsourcing jobs that traditionally have been held by state employees go before the Civil Service Commission to determine if they were entered into for reasons of “efficiency and economy and not for politically motivated reasons.”

Civil Service employees are protected from political firings.

Commission Chairman David Duplantier, of Covington, said there has been “not one scintilla of evidence to show that it is politically motivated.”

Commissioner Henry Polite Jr., of New Orleans, said the agency has “failed to satisfy its obligation” to provide essential documents the commission needs to make the determination.

“I don’t see any way I can reach a rational decision until I can see all the numbers,” said Commissioner Scott Hughes, of Shreveport. He said the commission gets “paperwork from other departments” to support a $50 salary supplement request. “This is a multibillion-dollar deal.”

Commissioners Polite, Hughes, Curtis “Pete” Fremin, of Morganza, and Sidney Tobias Jr., of New Orleans, voted against the contracts. Commissioners Duplantier, John McLure, of Alexandria, and G. Lee Griffin, of Baton Rouge, voted for the deals.

LSU’s Kaiser said the commission would be provided with the agreements the LSU Board of Supervisors approved with the private companies. Those agreements have been criticized for a lack of key financial details.

“We are going to ask them to reconsider,” Kaiser said.

Just more than 3,500 employees work at the four hospitals, and 2,953 are classified, or rank-and-file, employees protected by Civil Service. The remainder are unclassified and do not have Civil Service job protection.

Here’s the breakdown by hospital of Civil Service employees facing layoffs:

1,690 at the Interim Hospital in New Orleans; 487 at the University Medical Center in Lafayette; 556 at Leonard Chabert Medical Center in Houma; and 220 at W.O. Moss Medical Center in Lake Charles.

The operation of all the hospitals are being taken over by private hospitals in the cities where they are located under deals reached among the private entities, LSU and the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

Previously, the Civil Service Commission approved employee layoffs at Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge. The hospital closed April 15 with inpatient and outpatient care as well as medical education programs moved to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Brad Ott, head of the Advocates for Louisiana Public Health Care, said LSU had not provided all the financial details to the Civil Service Commission. He challenged projections of savings from the hospital privatizations, noting the Houma hospital has been running surpluses.

Leonal Hardman, president of Council 17 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, urged the commission to take its time. “Don’t get into a CEA (cooperative endeavor agreement) that we have to fund that ends up being a blank check,” Hardman said.

 

Bobby Jindal: Louisiana's Everyday Disaster for Working Families

Updated On: Apr 30, 2013 (08:43:00)

 Bobby Jindal is an everyday disaster for those pursuing the American dream through higher education.

In healthcare, the Governor has used a relatively small reduction in federal Medicaid support as an excuse to destroy the state’s public hospital system. Concentrating the cuts in the LSU hospitals was a policy choice by the Governor. Striking hastily negotiated deals with hospital operators in some markets has made the state of Louisiana the arbiter of winners and losers in healthcare markets in Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles. The winners will (if the deals are approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) gain access to substantial federal streams of Medicaid dollars.

The losers in these deals are the thousands of loyal employees who worked to make the LSU hospitals the most cost-effective healthcare delivery system in the state. The losers are the patients who depend on these hospitals for care and for medicine. The losers are those working age Louisianans who can’t afford health insurance, who have relied on those LSU hospitals as a place to get the care they need in order to survive. Louisiana has had a charity hospital system for longer than there’s been a United States of America. Bobby Jindal decided he wants to end that.

But it’s gotten even worse lately. The Governor is refusing to allow Louisiana to participate in Medicaid expansion, a program that even his own Department of Health & Hospitals says will save the state money and bring health insurance coverage to about 577,000 Louisianans who currently do not have health insurance.

Bobby Jindal is an everyday disaster for Louisianans who can’t afford health insurance.

If you’re a public employee, Bobby Jindal wants to get rid of your job and take away what little retirement security you might have. He brags about how many state jobs he’s eliminated and last year launched a concerted attack on the retirement security of state workers. He’s attacked public school teachers through an untested evaluation program designed to rob teachers of essential due process protections. He’s tried to raid state and local public education funding sources to private school operators, some of whom didn’t even have classrooms, much less a track record.

Bobby Jindal is an everyday disaster for all things public in Lousiana — public education, public infrastructure, public employees.

So, we come to Baton Rouge today as disaster communities uniting to say that we’ve had enough. Enough of the cuts. Enough of taking from working families and giving to corporations and the wealthy and calling that ‘tough times.’ Enough of the looting of public infrastructure and services. Enough of the Governor trying to gain national attention at the expense of the people of our state.

We come to Baton Rouge today as a coalition to begin the recovery from the Jindal disaster. We call on legislators to begin the serious work of reversing the deep harm this Governor has inflicted on our state. Reversing that will take money. We call on the Legislature to suspend $2 Billion in tax exemptions in this session in order to stop the damage and to begin to reverse the cuts in essential services inflicted on the people of our state by this governor.

These are the Governor’s policies, but legislators who stand idly by and let them go through will be co-owners of the damage that have proven so unpopular with the people of this state. So, we ask legislators: “Whose side are you on? The Governor’s? Or, the people? It’s time to decide.

 

*Pulled from the Enough is Enough Website:  www.louisianashadenough.org



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