Thursday, July 29, 2010

How can any honest WV citizen vote for Uncle Joe Manchin

Posted By: ccotsmire

How can any honest WV citizen vote for Uncle Joe Manchin, he is trying to outsource 589 state jobs at a increased cost of 50% to 75% of the current cost for the state paid employees. He is willing to risk your data privacy on him and Posted By: ccotsmire (2 hours ago)
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How can any honest WV citizen vote for Uncle Joe Manchin, he is trying to outsource 589 state jobs at a increased cost of 50% to 75% of the current cost for the state paid employees. He is willing to risk your data privacy on him and his appointees filling their pockets with cash from IBM.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

State technology employees protest outsourcing plans

July 14, 2010

By Phil Kabler, Staff writer
The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 75 state Office of Technology employees rallied outside of their Capitol Complex offices Wednesday evening to protest state plans to outsource information technology operations.
The move could not only eliminate their jobs, but also could jeopardize the privacy of West Virginians' personal data, speakers warned.
"Do you want your tax data, your driver's license information, your health information being made available to people in other states, or possibly overseas?" asked Carolyn Saul, a systems programmer.
Speakers also noted that attempts in Texas, Virginia and Indiana to outsource state IT operations to private companies have been plagued with massive cost overruns and numerous operating errors, system outages, and glitches.
"Privatization has not been a panacea, but rather a way to plunder public wealth," said Pam Schwarz, president of West Virginia Public Workers Union UE Local 170, which organized the rally.
Last month, state Chief Technology Officer Kyle Schafer told legislators that discussions of outsourcing state data centers and other information technology operations is strictly in the preliminary stages.
He did confirm that IBM is reviewing all of the state's data centers and IT applications, but said the company volunteered to do so after the state opened discussions with the company about replacing the state's computer mainframe, which is an IBM product.
Participants in the rally were urged to join UE 170 officials on Tuesday to lobby legislators to oppose any efforts to outsource state IT operations.
Legislators will be at the Capitol Tuesday for regularly scheduled July legislative interim meetings, as well as for an expected special session dealing with public school reforms.
"I believe in the principle of, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'" Saul said. "IBM and the other outsourcing companies are in this business to make a profit, and they will either do it by having the work done cheaper offshore or by making the West Virginia taxpayers foot the bill."

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 5, 2010
DHHR violated free speech rights, organizers say
By Alison Knezevich
Staff writer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Leaders of a public workers union say the state Department of Health
and Human Resources violated their First Amendment rights by trying to prevent organizing on
state hospitals' property.
The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and the West Virginia Public
Workers Union UE Local 170 have asked the ACLU of West Virginia for help.
On multiple occasions since December, administrators at state hospitals have told security
personnel to call police to ask union members -- who were passing out leaflets near employee
entrances -- to leave, UE field organizer John Thompson said.
The union, which represents workers in other state agencies, started organizing state-hospital
employees in summer 2008.
It now represents about 300 employees at six state hospitals, including nurses and maintenance
workers, Thompson said.
"When we first started, they would not allow us on the state hospital grounds to leaflet,"
Thompson said. "But they did allow meeting space [inside the hospitals] ... Because we had that
limited access, we didn't challenge that ban."
But in November, DHHR officials decided the unions couldn't hold meetings inside hospital
facilities, citing a pending grievance case involving union meetings.
So union members have been distributing leaflets near employee entrances "in defiance of the
ban," Thompson said, at facilities including William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital, Mildred Mitchell-
Bateman Hospital, and Lakin Hospital.
In a letter to state Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities Commissioner Vickie Jones,
ACLU of West Virginia attorney Sarah Brown wrote last week that "as public institutions, the state
hospitals of West Virginia are subject to the requirements of the First Amendment of the United
"In the absence of a significant public interest requiring narrowly tailored limits on the time, place,
and manner of the Union's speech, DHHR may not place a complete ban on leafleting and other
forms of solicitation on public ground outside of the state hospitals," Brown wrote. "If DHHR has
imposed such a ban, it is in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution."
The letter asks state officials to explain by May 14 "how [they] intend to address violations of the
First Amendment in West Virginia state hospitals."
DHHR spokesman John Law said Wednesday the agency would comply with all state and federal
laws when dealing with any organization seeking contact with employees.
After the ACLU sent the letter, management did not ask union members at Bateman to leave while
leafleting last week, Thompson said.
Issues at the hospitals include understaffing, low pay and mandatory overtime on short notice,
said UE Local 170 organizer Gordon Simmons.
Simmons said the union hasn't had the same access problems at other state agencies.
"This sort of restriction to access to this degree is pretty unusual," he said. "Apparently DHHR,
particularly at the state hospitals, is just feeling the heat in some way."
Union members are also collecting signatures for a petition calling on Health and Human
Resources Secretary Patsy Hardy "to respect their First Amendment rights," Simmons said.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What are they hiding?

Thursday May 6, 2010
Union says W.Va. agency violated free speech
by The Associated Press

A public workers union is accusing the state Department of Health and Human Resources of violating the First Amendment by banning leafleting on state hospitals' property.
Field organizer John Thompson with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America says the DHHR has told union members passing out leaflets at employee entrances to leave.
Last week, the ACLU of West Virginia sent a letter on behalf of the union to Behavioral Health and Health Facilities Commissioner Vickie Jones. The letter seeks an explanation by May 14 of how the alleged violations will be addressed.DHHR spokesman John Law said Wednesday the agency would comply with all state and federal laws when dealing with organizations seeking contact with employees.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Manchin seeks compromise on retiree health care

Statehouse News
Tuesday August 18, 2009
Manchin seeks compromise on retiree health care
Goal to have bill ready by Dec. 15
by Michelle Saxton
Daily Mail Capitol Reporter

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Joe Manchin is meeting with education leaders, unions and other groups to craft a bill addressing West Virginia's growing liability for subsidizing the health insurance premiums of public employees in retirement.
The goal is to have a bill ready by Dec. 15, Manchin said Monday after the first meeting of a working group studying the future costs of other post-employment benefits, also known as the OPEB debt.
But first members of the working group must agree on the facts and figures used to determine the debt, estimated by the Public Employees Insurance Agency at about $7 billion.
"This is a serious problem," Manchin said. "We have to understand the severity and the magnitude of it, but also we all have to be on the same page as far as the numbers."
National accounting standards require states, counties and municipalities to include OPEB liabilities in financial statements.
Many county schools systems in West Virginia are prepared to take legal action over who is responsible for the promised future benefits and how the debt is to be reported on those financial statements.
Meanwhile, teachers unions plan to sue over a decision by PEIA's finance board to stop subsidizing health insurance premiums in retirement for public employees hired after June 30, 2010.
Judy Hale, president of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, said Monday that the union still planned to give 30 days notice of a lawsuit but also that she was pleased with the governor's meeting and believed he was sincere in trying to find a solution.
"It was a very good meeting, very good open dialogue, good questions," Hale said. "Hopefully we can get to the point where we can think of some possible solutions other than retirees having nothing to help them with their health care."
Monday's meeting served as more of an organizational gathering, Manchin said, but it also gave members a chance to raise questions they hope to answer soon.
"We're trying to make sure that we all understand the gravity of what we're doing, of what we have in our state, what's going to happen if we do nothing, how other states are handling it, so we look at comparisons," Manchin said. "Also we're monitoring the private sector, people that work for manufacturers or mining or small businesses, how they're coping with it."
The private sector represents a substantial taxpayer interest, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts said.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

State Pay List Going Up Soon


State Pay List Going Up Soon



State Auditor Glen Gainer says he hopes to have the salaries of all state employees posted on his website by the end of the month. Last year's initial posting caused quite a stir in state government.
Gainer says it's public information and it's information that has always been available through his office. He says deciding to put the salaries on the Internet is just another step toward becoming a more transparent state government.
Auditor Gainer says his staff is currently working through W-2 forms from last year and some other information. He says that will have to be completed first before the salaries go up on the net.
Gainer says the information was very popular last year, but only for a very short period of time. He says the listing accounted for only a fifth of the increased activity on his office' s website in 2007.
He maintains there aren't many secrets in state government when it comes to what people make. Gainer says his office would receive requests for the information each quarter by some employees.
Gainer says he didn't hear of any morale problems caused by the 2007 posting. He believes it can help more than hurt.
"Particularly as agency's give pay raises now, knowing that it is going to be easily accessible, it hopefully causes them to stop and think about the things they are doing, that they are doing for the right reasons," Gainer said.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Circuit Court Overturns DHHR Dress Code Grievance

December 12, 2007

Circuit Court Overturns DHHR Dress Code Grievance In a decision received today (12/12/07),

Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker ruled that the so called "Blue Jean" grievance was answered improperly by the former Grievance Board ALJ by exceeding the hearing examiner's statutory authority, was contrary to law and was clearly wrong based on the record as a whole. The Circuit Court reversed the ruling of the Grievance Board and allows the DHHR dress code policy to be enforced.
This grievance was not originally filed or appealed by AFSCME, but by SEIU who at the time represented DHHR state hospital workers.
Despite other new organizations swinging blue jeans around on a stick at small media events, it will be left to AFSCME to review the case for possible appeal to the State Supreme Court.
A link to the entire decision will be added here soon. AFSCME union members affected by this case should e-mail us your thoughts with your name and work location.

DHHR ban on blue jeans upheld

By John O'Brien - West Virginia Record

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha Circuit judge overturned a state Employees Grievance Board decision, giving the Department of Health and Human Resources the power to impose its dress code on its employees.Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker filed an order staying the Grievance Board's conclusion that there was no rational basis for the dress code, which prevented employees from wearing blue jeans to work.Senior Administrative Law Judge Janis I. Reynolds said that the DHHR "did not show rational basis between a legitimate business decision and the implementation of a dress code."The DHHR maintained that it was trying to put forth a more professional atmosphere. Spokesman John Law said before the filing of the action in Circuit Court that "You don't have to wear a suit everyday, but we deal with folks often after they experience a trauma in their life. They're at their wit's end… and really having a tough time, and we want those people to see a professional in a setting that's also professional trying to help them. We're working towards that."Law did not return phone calls for this story.Senior Assistant Attorney General B. Allen Campbell filed the motion for stay and order, writing that the purpose of the dress code was "to establish a statewide expectation for employees that emphasizes professionalism and portrays a positive image of our state and our agency to the public."Walker agreed, overturning the Level IV grievance, and 6,000 employees in all 55 counties have to obey.The motion for stay and order was filed against 18 DHHR employees.Law had said the department was either pursuing action in Circuit Court or a policy rewrite that would please both sides.Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-AA-84

AFSCME WV Council 77, AFL-CIO501 Leon Sullivan Way, 1st FloorCharleston, WV 25301
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