He made the trains run on time and controlled the Unions

image - October 23, 2003

Fascism is recognized to have first been officially developed by Benito Mussolini, who came to power in Italy in 1922. To sum up fascism in one word would be to say "anti-liberalism".

...............Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century."


Image Source Page: http://marxistleninist.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/glenn-beck-champions-u-s-pro-nazi-text/



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Broken Promises, Tax Increases, Three Monkeys

Three wise monkeysImage via Wikipedia
I have been a State employee for 20 years and during that time, I've been one of those evil union "thugs" or activists...you know the type...we protect other workers, we speak to power, we try to get the other side to understand our side...and we figure out what's most important to our members. Yes, our local members. I was elected at my workplace to represent workers' best interests; I served on negotiating committees, as a shop steward, charities, and scholarship committees.




During my 20 years, there were good employees, bad employees, mostly good, there were hard financial times when for years there were no raises even when there were raises in the private sector. But I knew that I had been given a promise of security when I could no longer work. I had a pension and health care in my future, but I had to keep my word and deliver the best work I knew how for the citizens of Maine.

As I said, I was an activist and I knew that in many cases management held that against me, but I never allowed it to justify poor work or slacking off. I had given my word not to my boss, not to my Union, but to the citizens of Maine.

Later in my career, I transferred, to an office 75 miles away because I wanted more responsibility and wanted a change of pace. I knew I was doing my job, my department and my promotions let me know I was doing the work I had promised to do as a State employee. State employees have no respect for anyone that wants to hide and just quietly wait for retirement. If you will not carry the load you should leave, but everyone I know carries their load, they promised they would.

As a Union activist, I was a member of the teams that negotiated contracts with no raises. The State's position was always that there was not enough money for raises and benefits. The employees always chose to protect their future and gave up cash for a promise from the State that they would be secure when they retired. Our membership trusted us and trusted our government when we chose to give up cash for the promise of future benefits.

We had bargained retirement at 60 years of age, then with no bargaining the age was moved to 62, now the governor plans to move it to 65 again with no bargaining. The retirement age had been bargained for and given in fair dealing in compensation for the low wage scales in Maine, lower than the private sector, as just proven again by a Maine State Gov. sponsored survey.

The pension system has always received the State Employee contribution but has been abused by the legislature again and again as an easy out to solve problems or to give political pay backs.

I have worked hard for 20 years, I adopted three children through DHHS, I gave up pay raises, agreed to work another two years to earn my pension, my health care, my security when I retired. I paid nearly 7% of my pay for 20 years so far, all to secure my pension. And now? I'm told that I'M THE PROBLEM.

Senator Rosen head of the appropriations committee said he feels it is necessary to break pension promises. Senator Rosen said the average rate of inflation over the last 20 years has been 2.85%, yet feels that the 2% cap on pensions will not cause pensions to shrink every year. In Reality the Senator’s own figures guarantee a minimum cut of 8.5% over ten years assuming no inflation over 2%, which the Senator has already said he knows is a false assumption. Including the current planned three-year freeze on cost of living adjustments, an employee retiring today will see over a 14% cut in their pensions over the next 10 years. That is nearly a thousand dollars a year cut for retired Mainers.



PO Box 877
Bucksport, ME 04416
Phone: (207) 469-3779
Email: Sen. Richard Rosen [Send email to Sen. Richard Rosen]

When the Legislature is in session, you can leave a message for Sen. Richard Rosen by calling the State Senate Message Phone: (800) 423-6900 or by calling the office at: (207) 287-1505.


State retirees average pension is $19,000, and these figures include those pensions based on the "6 figure salaries" Governor LePage claimed were too low to get good help. If he was right, we know we have far from the best people running our State agencies, maybe the 3rd, 4th, or 10th choice. I can just see the conversation in the Gov’s office “Have you called any temp agencies?”

Many State employees may be forced to retire by the end of June, but I can see many that will be forced to wait it out until they are 65, thereby maintaining the highest paid employees and leaving no room for new employees to find a career. I need to feed my family, but maybe I don’t have to fear losing my home or being unable to feed my family or dying without health care. Early in the LePage campaign, the Governor said the Mardens employees did not need a union because they were treated like family.

After all, the governor hired many Mardens employees, and he did hire his daughter. She lives at the taxpayer’s expense in the Blaine house, on my dime and yours. I wonder if he will offer the same free room and board to the rest of his “family”?

If you earn a State Pension, waiting for Social Security to kick in won't help. If a State employee has a pension coming S.S. is reduced by up to 2/3 before you get the check. If you try to get a second job S.S. computes how much to take away from your check against whatever you have left. I will have $175.00 coming, then I will pay $125.00 towards Medicare. It will be impossible for me and for many employees that retire after June to afford health care, but the State is playing numbers games again claiming the savings by not paying for my health care. You see, if I don’t have a health care plan I can qualify for Medicare and shift the cost to the Federal government, and the State. Would you let your family go without care if you could do anything to help them?

But State Employee Pensions are so GENEROUS!

My job is considered one of the better paying jobs, so let me tell you about my plans for retirement.

If I retire, my pension will be about $20,000 at age 62. $20,000 before taxes. I paid taxes on that pension money when I earned it. I will pay taxes on it again when I receive it. If I retire after July 1 of this year, the governor would have me pay all of my own health care for the next three years, leaving me with $13,000 before taxes. If I want to continue to pay for my wife and 13 year old daughter, I will pay an additional $8000 a year, leaving me with $5,000 before taxes.

Since I can’t pay for family health care and live, I won't have it, who needs it if you can’t eat?
After taxes My family can plan on living on somewhere around $11,000 a year after taxes. I sure hope my room at the Blaine house comes with free food.


Obviously I won't be able to pay for health care but at $20,000 a year before taxes I will qualify for food stamps, maybe heating assistance and other State aid that will likely cost as much or more than leaving me with the pension and benefits promised, and paid for by me and my brothers and sisters.

The legislature is ignoring over ONE BILLION DOLLARS, earned by the pension system in the last year, while planning to increase spending in the current budget by $300,000,000 more than the hated Democrats.

 The Gov. wants to increase pension contributions by state employees, while at the same time decreasing the State share, accomplishing nothing. The Gov. wants the budget law to make it illegal for State Employees to even negotiate over the pension and health care provisions.


 The whole plan is not intended to help the budget; it is a creation of people like Scott Fish former editor of AMG whose long hatred of Unions made his reputation. The intent of the whole package is not reform, but revenge, the idea of crippling, starving, and punishing your neighbors, because they joined a union and along with 61% of other Mainers did not vote for the Governor. That is the real driving force behind this legislation.

Gov. LePage, Do unto others as you would have done unto those friends and member of your family that you hired. Let us negotiate to work towards a responsible budget. If these tough times require tough decisions, maybe negotiations with your employees is your first tough step.


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