Monday, December 16, 2013

We Don't Want Charity. Guest Blog By Norma Rae


This Mayor just does not get it.  We are not asking for charity or a pay raise.  When you quit taking 5% of our earnings, it is not a damn pay raise.  The budget shenanigans and spin coming from Gimenez has to stop.  Everyone knew that the contracts called for an end to this mandatory 5% payroll contribution on January 1, 2014. 

Is it so hard to just keep your word?

In his veto message, Gimenez says he found $10 Million hiding somewhere and he wants to be Santa Claus and “assist those employees at the lower end of the pay scale.”  Gimenez is still demanding 5% from everybody, but he wants to put some bonus cash in the stockings “of those that the Board has expressed their desire to help.” When did the Board define a particular class of employees they wanted to help?  The Board voted to end this unwarranted tax on all employees. The Mayor is hoping that when you give employees $1,000 they will forget they are giving up $2,000. Does he think we are stupid?   
Who runs a government with this kind of payroll high jinks? These gimmicks and tricks make it look like fools are running this government. No wonder those Wall Street people are taking a dim view of Miami-Dade County. Handing out bonuses and treats is not in our contracts.  During the failed negotiations, no one ever mentioned bonuses.  We want to be respected for the work we do, and we want to have the dignity of earning a living without paying an income tax, just like everyone else in Florida.

Now that Gimenez has lost, he says he is “ready to work with the Board and the Unions to find a way for all of us to move our community forward.”  Amen, brother, losing is sometimes good for the soul.  Losing helps the arrogant to see the light.  

 Gimenez should quit treating employees like dogs and own up to his responsibilities.  Every other local government has come out of the recession and is on the road to recovery.  Maybe Gimenez should hire a professional manager to run Miami-Dade County. This Strong Mayor thing is just not working for him.  



34 comments:

Anonymous said...

To expect any less of Mayor Gimenez is just wishful thinking. This is a man who had no problem in hiring Al Lorenzo as campaign manager and stealing an election by hiring boleteros to do his bidding. He is surrounded by five highly paid vice mayors and a cast of lobbyist friends intent on stealing from public employees and providing to preferred contractors. How does he explain paying for not one but two port directors? And the horrors go on and on. A man who ran on an "ethical platform" has been unmasked. This mayor needs to go.

Anonymous said...

Could it be the Mayor's goal to simply cut down the County employees from the payroll - both because its the Tea Party philosophy to shutdown government services and because this is what is applauded by bond analysts. Much like leveraged buyouts that eviscerate company payrolls and are rewarded by higher stock prices, cutting county payrolls is applauded by bond markets. In both cases, it's about looking out for profit takers, not about the common good and certainly not about protecting people's jobs. Who cares if public libraries and public parks are closed or roads and bridges and sewer systems deteriorate? Only the community who depends on these things and pays taxes expecting something in return.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this all has to do with not having a professional manager anymore. All other cities and counties that have the council manager form of government have come out of the recession and pay and benefits have been restored. Not Miami Dade County- the strong mayor hasn't work and it never will. Bonuses for a class of employees that has been selected by the man in charge? Where's the process and who had asked for it? A charter change can get us out of this.

Anonymous said...

Where did Gimenez find the money to give out bonuses? He talks a big game about transparency, but we never know about all his special reserve accounts and surplus dollars hiding everywhere. He better not be using those healthcare dollars to hand out cash bonuses to folks! That money was supposed to be for healthcare, not hush money to keep people quiet.

The Real Norma Rae said...

For the most part, Miami-Dade County employees are among the highest paid government employees in the nation.

But there are people at the very low end of the spectrum who are only there because their union abandoned them.

The Living Wage Ordinance covers two categories of employees: 1) non-county employees who in service contracts and 2) county employees. For the service contract employees, the living wage is automatically increased annually with the cost of living. For county employees, any increase is left to the collective bargaining process (i.e., the unions).

Since it was implemented in 2000, the so-called living wage for lowest level county employees has not been increased. The unions never bring it up, and clearly don't care about the lowest level employees. We have heard county union leaders (such as our guest blogger) whine time after time demanding salary increases for themselves, but they never mention the county's living wage workers.

It is a disgrace how the county unions have abandoned the very workers who need representation the most.

See the Living Wage Ordinance here: http://www.miamidade.gov/business/library/ordinances/living-wage-code.pdf

Go to Sec. 2-8.9 Living Wage (A)(2) to see how it is the union's responsibility to bring the issue up.

Geniusofdespair said...

You sound like Jack Whitehead not our Norma.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Real Norma Ray is earning her salary today, definitely 29th floor material, probably wrote this too on the Mayor's veto message: "Ironically, the across-the-board 5% pay raise does not treat employees the same" - well of course not- it's called MATH! Imagine what a news flash! the more you make the more 5% represents.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, "real Norma Rae on the 29th floor" for pointing out the flaw in the Living Wage Ordinance. Consider it on the table for the next round of negotiations, or possibly a straight up Ordinance amendment to bring about parity for low-end County employees with the private contractors. The Living Wage rate is now $12.23 an hour, but only $9.00 an hour for county workers - low, but still above Minimum Wage. This will be a true test of Mayor Gimenez's new compassion for low paid workers - watch him oppose the change with everything he's got.

Anonymous said...

The County Communications Department is sending out those "real Norma Rae" messages. For shame!
Communications Director Fernando Figueredo: You are a good man - stand up for the truth and stop this!

Anonymous said...

Gimenez just doesn't care about the County. A real manager would have fired the Finance Director for allowing Moody's to downgrade our bonds. We have a Seaport with two directors, and a two-headed department (Solid Waste and Public Works) with no Director. If Gimenez was the County Manager - his ultimate dream job - he would be fired by the County Commission. This man peaked years ago when he became a Fire Chief. Now he just sits around waiting for the alarms to go off, and hopes someone will put out the fires.

Anonymous said...

Above Amon: you hit the nail on the head!

T said...

1. Is what the Real Norma Rae wrote accurate? Have the lowest level employees been neglected by the union for the past 13 years?

2. Who is Jack Whitehead?

Anonymous said...

Yes, T, the Real Norma Rae is correct. The living wage employees need a new union to look out for their interests. Jack White is a singer/performing artist.

Geniusofdespair said...

Jack Whitehead, the first "King of Strike Breakers "
There were a significant number of strikes during the 1890s and very early 1900s. Strikebreaking by recruiting massive numbers of replacement workers became a significant activity.
Jack Whitehead saw opportunity in labor struggles; while other workers were attempting to organize unions, he walked away from his union to organize an army of strikebreakers. Whitehead was the first to be called "King of the Strike Breakers"; by deploying his private workforce during strikes of steelworkers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Birmingham, Alabama, he became wealthy. By demonstrating how lucrative strikebreaking could be, Whitehead inspired a host of imitators.

Anonymous said...

The lowest paid workers have been screwed since Gimenez got elected Mayor. He has been garnishing their wages to rack up a huge surplus in the healthcare accounts. His plan was to give an election year tax break at the expense of the workers, but thank God the unions have exposed his bullsh*t scheme. Gimenez should use that money to pay for healthcare and pay the employees their full paycheck.

Kiki said...

Genius of Despair, have you ever heard a county union leader address the living wage disparity in front of the BCC? I watch pretty regularly, and I have never seen it mentioned. I did not know about this issue until I read your blog this afternoon. I am not anti-union, and I don't think it is strikebreaking or union busting to call the union out when it neglects its members. Not every union is a good union.

Anonymous said...

Kiki,

All of the workers that are covered by unions make a living wage. That language in the Living Wage Ordinance, pushed by non-public sector unions, doesn't make much sense. But it is nice to know the Mayor all of sudden gives a shit about people. Why did he oppose the Wage Theft Ordinance? Was he concerned it might impact his ability to steal wages?

Anonymous said...

People:
Let's not lose focus. Let's keep this simple.

They Mayor asked ALL employees to sacrifice and that it would go back to what it was in January, 2014. That was his promise.

He is now reneging on his promise. Period.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the idea that Gimenez can veto an impasse decision. He is one of the parties in the negotiation. Gimenez and the unions disagreed, negotiations broke down, and they went to the Commission for a resolution. The Commission decided the 5% issue with a super-majority vote: 8-3. Why should Gimenez get to veto that, and now start talking crap about bonuses. We are tired of this. I hope the Commission overrides his foolish veto, and tells the Mayor to leave us alone. Go balance the budget with your secret stash of money, and quit taking money out of our paychecks.

Anonymous said...

The union offered ideas that addressed where to find money to fix the county's financial gap. Why isn't the public privy to why these ideas can or cannot be implemented? All I recall reading is that using some of the past five percent collected isn't a recurring source of funding. Well, based on the amount of lower level staff quitting county service around me, and the attack on base pay, this revenue stream will also run scarce. So, after the witch hunt on front line non-administrative staff is over, what will be the next money source to tap?

Anonymous said...

Watch the meeting tomorrow. The Mayor will be all excited to build another stadium, but he won't be able to spare a dime for the employees. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I cant believe the unions abandoned the lowest paid employees for thirteen years. Disgraceful!

Anonymous said...

The union bosses don't give a crap about the low paid employees, they are only concerned with themselves and their friends who all have 10-25 years on the job. The low paid employees are merely pawns.

Anonymous said...

The unions are working every day to expose the waste and fraud of this Administration so that all employees can be proud of their dedication to public service. These mouthpieces from the 29th floor that are wallowing in slop with all their friends that feed at the public trough better brace for a real cleansing next year. Quit trying to create more class warfare, you assholes. When we are done every employee will know the satisfaction of taking home their full paycheck. Their is dignity on being compensated for doing honest work...a concept that no one in proximity to the Mayor knows a thing about. The overpaid incompetents are going to all get exposed, one by one starting January 1, 2014.

Orlando said...

It's so funny to see a union stooge complain about class warfare.

I think I am going to start publishing the high salaries of the union officers. Because of their high salaries (with no county work performed), the union brass sees no connection between themselves and the hard-working living wage employees they have ignored for so long.

Anonymous said...

To the above Anon: Please start with WASD!

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer I feel abused. Ever try to get a County employee to pick up a phone? Ever need answers? Right. Doesn't happen. But they take our money every two weeks.

Anonymous said...

They really need to do something about telephone call responses. Most are never in the office, or if they are they are not taking calls. Other than the phone mail, you wonder if anyone is ever working. This can be handled easily. People who don't answer the phone, or return phone calls, should be let go so they don't have to ever be concerned with our phone calls.

Anonymous said...

On NPR Radio a union boss was saying County employees are so mad at not getting a 5% raise they don't want to show up for work. Then the NPR announcer said the average County salary was $60,000 vs $40,000 in the private sector.
Ungrateful pigs.

Anonymous said...

They really may never be there - no show ghost employee.

Anonymous said...

If they don't feel like it, they shouldn't show up for work. We understand how they feel. As a matter of fact they should start looking for another job that will pay them the additional 5%. The quicker they leave the better on the budget.

Anonymous said...

"Don't let the door hit you on the butt"

Anonymous said...

please stop calling the 5% "a raise" ..... it is money that employees had earned and was part of our pay. We voted to give the money back to the county..... on a temporary basis or until January 1, 2014. It was a bargaining contract that should have been honored by budgeting for it last summer. The BCC and the Mayor chose to ignore the "contract" in setting the budget in the first place. This five percent has turned into a county income tax for county employees. So now I pay property and income taxes to Miami Dade County! BIGFOOT

Anonymous said...

To any public sector employees who still want the private sector employees to give them more money we have a suggestion. Detroit? Orange County? Stockton? If you want to keep being greedy just move to Detroit.