Biweekly news digest from the California State University Employees Union
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EIGHT DAYS LEFT FOR SIGNATURE GATHERING
SUCCESSFUL LOBBY DAY
MY FIRST LOBBY DAY: SCARY AND EXHILARATING
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS ARE OFF AND RUNNING
WHAT ARE PACS?
CalPERS OFFERS RETIREMENT PLANNING WEBINAR
CSU FACT BOOK
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Eight Days Left for Signature Gathering for Gov. Brown’s Tax Measure
CSUEU members are working with Gov. Brown to give voters a chance to decide in November on whether to collect new revenues to fund schools and public safety programs.
Gov. Brown seeks to gather as many valid signatures as possible by April 27 to qualify the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act for the November ballot. This deadline, earlier than necessary by law, provides the governor with time to make adjustments to his May revise of the state budget, based on whether or not the measure qualifies for the ballot.
Passage of this initiative is the best way to prevent a $200 million CSU budget cut this fall—which will occur automatically if the measure doesn’t go on the ballot or if it’s voted down—and the resulting impacts on our members.
Please help out your chapter by signing the petition to place this measure on the ballot and by volunteering to collect other valid signatures.
Download signature-gathering instructions (PDF).
Download the petition so you can begin gathering signatures (PDF).
You can also learn more about the signature-gathering process either from your chapter leadership or by visiting the “Sign the Petition” section of the campaign web site.
Successful Lobby Day
Last Tuesday, April 17, scores of CSUEU members flooded the state Capitol for meetings with legislators and/or their staff representatives throughout the building, along with stops at the remaining legislators’ offices to drop off materials, all in support of increased CSU funding.
The day was preceded on Monday afternoon with an in-depth training session at the Sheraton Grand in downtown Sacramento.
“This year’s Lobby Day marked yet another outstanding effort on the part of the Legislative Committee and members across the state to remind legislators about the important contributions of CSU and its staff,” said CSEA Governmental Affairs Manager Sherrie Golden, whose office worked with the Legislative Committee to set up the appointments.
See a photo gallery of images from this year’s Lobby Day.
My First Lobby Day: Scary and Exhilarating
by Cyndi Olvera, President, CSU Monterey Bay Chapter 322
Some people have a fear of flying. I’ve discovered that I have a fear of public speaking and of doing anything out of the ordinary. To my dismay, a month ago, when I was asked to participate in Lobby Day, I became aware that I would have to do something I’ve never done before: talk to legislators about issues that concern me and my co-workers in the CSU.
I feel strongly about the education system, which, sad to say, needs a boost (or, more so, a kick in the pants): the CSU cannot have any more cutbacks or layoffs; I need my job; the Office of the Chancellor needs to stop giving administrators raises; the ones who question those raises the most are the students, who have had their tuition raised so many times over the last two or three years.
I thought to myself, “How do I go about saying this to someone at the Capitol--that the Brown tax initiative is a good thing, and please give a little push to pass it?” I absolutely had no clue.
Since this was my first experience, I thought it would be best to listen to the people around me on Lobby Day, to learn from them by seeing what they say when they do their song-and-dance routine. I had little faith in my own abilities as an advocate, so I tried to ignore that little voice inside my head that told me I should run in the other direction, get in my car and drive away...no one would notice.
But, I didn’t. I’d made a commitment to be at a certain place and time to voice out what needs to heard. I had the help of many people around me, including San Jose State’s Vera Acevedo, CSU Monterey Bay’s George Ball, and many more whom I can’t name here because the list would be too long. They were all so helpful, and their advice was instrumental.
Read the complete article.
CSUEU Special Interest Groups Are Off and Running
by Debbie Blair, CSU San Marcos
At last November’s Board of Directors meeting, the board welcomed the Lavender Caucus and the Women’s Advocacy and Labor Caucus (WALC) as two new member special interest groups (SIGs) by approving their bylaws and mission/vision statements. The action followed the board’s adoption of Policy File language earlier last year that recognized the importance of SIGs.
I’ve become involved with WALC and have already seen first-hand the many benefits of SIGs for the union. As a CSUEU member, activist, and now a member of WALC, I would like to encourage every member to participate in the special interest group of their choice.
At the November meeting, Chair Andrew Coile presented for the Lavender Caucus. This group’s mission is to facilitate open and respectful communication between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) community and the labor movement by educating CSUEU members about LGBTQ issues. The Lavender Caucus gives the LGBTQ community a voice within CSUEU.
Chair Nancy Kobata presented for WALC. Its mission is to support and promote women’s advocacy at all levels. WALC values the positive portrayal of women in the labor movement, along with upward mobility, comparable worth, and pay equity of women.
By policy, SIGs are not eligible to receive funding from CSUEU. They can use our meeting rooms when not in use and are supposed to keep the CSUEU updated on meetings.
“Special interest groups are key to involving more members in CSUEU,” said VP for Member Engagement Joseph Dobzynski, Jr. “They allow for the exploration of issues that not all members experience, but which can dramatically affect the lives of our members.”
WALC recently announced creation of a new listserv. Any CSUEU member may subscribe by submitting their name and chapter or campus to the list.
If you’re interested in joining the Lavender Caucus, visit the group’s web site. All CSUEU members are invited to participate in the exchange of information on LGBTQ issues in the workplace and within our union.
Now that the door is open to the formation of SIGs, our union will be able to grow and meet the changing needs of its members. You can check out a web site, join a listserv or attend the meetings. Your level of participation is totally up to you!
What Are PACs?
A political action committee, or PAC, is an organization in the U.S. dedicated to raising and spending money to either elect or defeat political candidates, ballot initiatives or legislation.
In 1944, the Congress of Industrial Organizations—that is, the CIO part of what is today the AFL-CIO—wanted to help President Franklin Roosevelt get re-elected. Standing in its way was the Smith Connally Act of 1943, which made it illegal for labor unions to contribute funds to federal candidates. The CIO overcame Smith Connally by urging individual union members to voluntarily contribute money directly to the Roosevelt campaign. It worked very well, and PACs were born. Since then, they’ve raised billions of dollars for thousands of candidates and causes.
Most PACs are directly connected to corporations, labor groups, or recognized political parties. Examples include Microsoft (a corporate PAC) and the Teamsters Union (organized labor). These PACs may solicit contributions from their employees or members and make contributions in the PAC’s name to candidates or political parties, including both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Last year, CSUEU formed its own PAC to help elect candidates who respect and value CSU employees and who work to defeat ballot initiatives and legislation that threaten our interests. Our PAC members have close relationships with legislators, CalPERS officials, and other decision-makers. We visit them in their offices, join them at public events, call them, and write letters and emails when needed.
These officials know that the approximately 15,000 employees represented by CSUEU are a formidable force. They give us support when we need it by moving bills through the legislature, speaking out against those who target our benefits, and being there for us in many other ways. In turn, CSUEU needs to be able to reciprocate and help our political friends when they need it.
For further information about the CSUEU PAC, contact Legislative Committee Chair Andrew Coile.
CalPERS Offers Two-Hour Retirement Planning Webinar, April 27
On April 27 and June 27, CalPERS offers a free two-hour webinar, “Planning Your Retirement,” covering a wide variety of retirement planning topics. Participants will learn how to access additional information and will gain a better understanding of:
• The different types of CalPERS retirement
• How retirement is calculated
• What to consider when choosing a retirement date
• Retirement options
• Cost-of-living adjustments
• Having a power of attorney on file
• Retiree health benefits
• Working after retirement
The webinar will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. on April 27 and from 1 to 3 p.m. on June 27. Read further information and register.
CSU Fact Book
The California State University 2012 Fact Book is now available as a PDF download (5 MB). The latest version of an annually updated booklet, it's a collection of key facts about the CSU, including information on staff and faculty demographics, as well as the system’s funding, leadership, student costs, enrollment, degrees awarded, and more—interesting facts to use when talking to key influencers about the CSU system and your campus.
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See back issues of CSUEU E-News, distributed every other Thursday.
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Categories: CSUEU E-News |
Posted: 4/19/2012 |