Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Hurricane Sandy message from Richard Trumka- President, AFL-CIO


I’m in Washington, D.C., right now and conditions are getting progressively worse.

I hope you and your family are staying safe. We wanted to share with you some resources and tips for dealing with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

Click here to check out this information now.

I also wanted to take a minute to thank all the workers who began preparing for the storm early, will be working through it and will keep up their work long after it passes to help repair and rebuild our communities.

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said it best in a statement yesterday:

We’re hopeful that preparations will prove unnecessary, but we have peace of mind knowing that union workers–public sector, private sector and building trades–will be there for us: supermarket and retail workers making sure that supplies are available; utility and communication workers laboring day and night to keep the lights and phones on; police officers, firefighters and EMS professionals maintaining our safety; transportation workers preserving our subway, commuter rail and bus infrastructure; state, county and municipal employees keeping the roads clear; construction workers repairing our homes, businesses and communities; hospital workers providing care to our family, friends and neighbors; teachers and child care workers keeping our children safe until we can be with them; and hotel workers making sure there is a place to stay for those who cannot remain home.

Their work and the work of others will get our communities back up and running.

Find important resources and information for dealing with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath at the link below:

We hope you and your family and friends stay safe. Thanks for all you do.

In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

How to help UAW Local 1183 keep their community food bank running


UAW Local 1183 once represented thousands of active Chrysler auto workers in the now closed Newark, Delaware assembly plant. The plant has been torn down and the local has only a few hundred actively working members althoughthere are thousands and thousands of retirees. Exceptional management by the union leaders have kept the local active in helping the community in these difficult times.

The local somehow has managed to stay open. Hats off to their elected leaders for this accomplishment!

One of their greatest services to residents in northern Delaware along with those in nearby counties in Maryland and Pennsylvania is their community food bank. It is serving up to 10 times as many people or more than before the Great Recession hit. Thanks to the tireless work of UAW Local 1183 Financial Secretary Alena Bandy, they are helping the poor and hungry feed their families. This is being done with only a small fraction of dues paying members as before the Chrysler plant closed!

They need financial help. They need your help. You or your union can send donation checks if that is possible to: UAW Local 1183, attention: Alena Bandy, 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702.

Or you can support the weekly Flea Market fundraiser by shopping it or setting up to sell your unwanted items. All the table rents go to the UAW Local 1183 Food Bank. If you can, please help us spread the word about this worthy cause as widely as possible.

UAW 1183 “Food Bank Fund Day” every Sunday this summer

Flea Market Fundraiser- Weekly all Summer

When: every Sunday –weather permitting

Where: UAW 1183 (union hall parking lot) at : 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702

Space rental is $15 (cash only) -
Bring your own tables

Time: 8am until 2pm (seller set-up time starts at 7am)
Additional Contributions: UAW 1183 Food Bank, 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE 19702

UAW 1183 phone number is 302-738-4500.

LiUNA! Local 199 Rally- Wilmington Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility Vote


Labor activists and friends from Delaware, Maryland, Philadephia & southeast PA and southern New Jersey please attend if possible.

LiUNA! Local 199 Rally
June 21, 2012 – 5:15pm
Wilmington Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility Vote
Information Fact Sheet

You have answered the call; you have come out with your other union brothers and sisters on this hot summer day to stand united for our jobs. We want members of Local 199 to be informed about this $35 million project. If passed, this project will:

• Create 100 constructions jobs employing Local 199 members
• Reduces the city’s wastewater expenses
• Reduces the city’s electrical needs
• Reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions
• Saves the city money, allowing spending on other city-issues
• Make the city more environmentally-friendly

It is not every day that the city can vote on a project that will both create jobs and help the environment. We stand united in orange for this project that will get people back to work and better the city we live in. You being here today will send a message to the City Council that you care about jobs for the community, want a better Wilmington, and will fight for our future.
At the Plaza between 800 and 820 French Street in Wilmington, Delaware.

UAW Local 1183 begins weekly Sunday summer flea market to help fund their community food bank


UAW 1183 “Food Bank Fund Day”

Fundraiser- Weekly all Summer

Flea Market

When: every Sunday –weather permitting

Where: UAW 1183 (union hall parking lot) at : 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702

Space rental is $15 (cash only) -
Bring your own tables

Time: 8am until 2pm (seller set-up time starts at 7am)

Additional Contributions: UAW 1183 Food Bank, 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE 19702

Sen. Carper Votes for President Obama’s American Jobs Act


Sen. Carper Votes for President Obama’s American Jobs Act

WASHINGTON – Tonight, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement on his vote for President Obama’s American Jobs Act (S.1660):

“The American people want their elected officials in Washington to do what’s right to help our country continue to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. One of the greatest challenges facing the First State and the nation in the near-term is getting Delawareans and Americans back to work. Today, we had an opportunity to meet that challenge by moving forward to consider the American Jobs Act, President Obama’s job-creating initiative that would provide tax relief to American businesses and workers in order to grow our economy. The bill would also encourage new hiring through tax credits; invest in infrastructure projects to modernize schools and rebuild homes; protect the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders; and reshape the unemployment insurance system to include innovative, work-based reforms.

“These measures would all help foster what I refer to as the nurturing environment for job creation that businesses need to expand and create jobs right here at home. It’s also worth noting that the commonsense measures included in the American Jobs Act have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past and the cost of the legislation is fully paid-for so it doesn’t interfere with our efforts to curb our federal debt and deficit. At the end of the day, putting Americans back to work and growing our economy are also central to the effort to reduce our massive federal deficit. I believe that creating jobs today and working to reduce our debt and deficits in the long-run can be complementary, and Congress should not shy away from either challenge.

“While I’m disappointed that more of my colleagues didn’t join me today in voting to support the American Jobs Act, we can’t afford to postpone actions to help spur job preservation and creation in Delaware and across the country. We should continue our efforts to pass the Jobs Act as soon as possible by whatever means we can – even if that means taking a piece-by-piece approach. Clearly, there’s a lot of work to be done to address our fiscal challenges, whether it’s creating jobs and growing our economy or whether it’s reining in our federal debt and deficit. In Delaware, our elected leaders work closely together and don’t shy away from compromise in order to find the common ground necessary to strengthen our local economies. Just last week, I was in Delaware City with leaders from the federal, state, and local government – as well as from the business and labor communities – to reopen its local refinery, which has created and will create hundreds of jobs. This project exemplifies the spirit of unity that pushes Delaware’s leaders to do their best for their constituents. It’s time for those of us in Congress to show that we too are capable of governing effectively by putting aside partisanship and enacting strong measures to help move our economy forward again.”




Monday, September 5, 2011

Public Welcome

Parade Starts at: 10:00 A.M.

Assembly begins at 8:30A.M.

Where:12th 8c King Street, Wilmington

Free Parking-Bus Station Lot

Rally: After Parade

Tubman-Garrett Parks

Contact: 302-283-1330

Candidate for County Council President Thomas Kovach’s Work for Developers Poses a Serious Conflict of Interest




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jim Farrell 302/689.3281

January 5, 2011

Candidate for County Council President Thomas Kovach’s Work for Developers Poses a Serious Conflict of Interest

con·flict of in·ter·est

A term used to describe the situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.

(Wilmington, DE) – The campaign of Tim Sheldon today revealed that Republican candidate for President of New Castle County Council, Thomas Kovach, has a conflict of interest that raises questions about his fitness for office. Kovach, a Director at a prominent law and lobbying firm, represents powerful real estate developers to county government decision makers. Additionally, candidate Kovach failed to file the required statement of personal financial interests with the New Castle County Ethics Commission. The disclosure is mandatory for all County office candidates, in order to inform the public of any potential issues, which Kovach clearly has. The violation also carries penalties.

“Thomas Kovach has potential conflicts of interest that will require him frequently to recuse himself from County Council discussions and decisions. His firm legally represents and lobbies for big land developers, and also polluters like BP and Sunoco, who may be coming before the Council seeking favorable decisions. Will he be serving the public interest or his law firm’s clients when he votes on land use issues? I think the public interest would be put at risk if Mr. Kovach were to become Council President,” said Tim Sheldon, Democratic candidate for Council President.

Kovach himself concedes his conflict of interest problem. According to the New Journal, “Kovach said he will recuse himself if he has a client with a project in the county, or might even refuse to represent such clients altogether.” 12/18/10

“There is real concern whether Mr. Kovach can impartially represent the best interests of communities, given his profession of advocating for developers, and his pro-business and pro-development bias,” added Tim Sheldon.

On its website, Kovach’s firm boasts of its ‘state-wide real estate and land use practice involving both commercial and residential land use issues, zoning, transactions and disputes,’ and that it ‘provides representation on commercial and residential development projects, shopping centers, malls, recreational facilities, office buildings and marinas.’ Many of these areas are under the control of the County Council.

It was also learned today that Kovach, who has been a candidate since at least November 17th, has gone more than 40 days without any financial disclosure to the public. Candidates for county elective office must file a statement of their financial interests not later than seven (7) days after the last date for giving notice of candidacy for public office under the State of Delaware election laws.

On WILM Radio’s ‘Glenn Urquhart’ show on Monday when asked about the conflict-of-interest problem, Kovach brushed off any question of impropriety by announcing that he had now become a ‘consultant’ to his law firm, and said he relinquished his position as Director of the firm. The firm’s website still lists him as a ‘Director’ on January 4th, 2011, however. Without any public financial disclosure statement, it is difficult to evaluate Kovach’s claims.

“I find Mr. Kovach’s explanation frankly too slick by half. It won’t wash with voters,” said Tim Sheldon. “And when is he going release his financial interests publicly? I imagine some voters would like to see them before they cast their ballots. We need to know what conflicts his personal finances might contain.”

When explaining his candidacy in November, Kovach declared that “having more openness and transparency in the county’s decision-making process will be the first-step towards a better, more trusted government”. Tim Sheldon observed that those words now must ring ironic for voters after today’s revelation.




For more information contact: Herbert Welch 410-920-4011

A former union President at the General Motors Boxwood plant near Wilmington and child advocate with deep ties to Delaware is seeking a Judgeship position in nearby Cecil County. Herbert “Herb” W. Welch is running for Cecil County Judge of the Orphans’ Court. He served in this position 32 years ago.

Welch served as President of UAW Local 435 in the 1970’s. At the time, he was the youngest union local president ever elected. He had only been working in the factory for 7 years when elected.

Since retiring, Welch has been very active in his community. Among the groups he has been very active with are the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Moose Lodge 851 and the Cecil County Democratic Party. He has served as manager of the Kiwanis Little League team. Recently, Welch was elected to the Cecil County Democratic Central Committee.

Welch is a well known as an advocate in Annapolis for children’s rights. One of the main themes in his campaign has been to “eliminate inheritance taxes for children.”

Welch stated, “I will use my position to lobby in Annapolis to change inheritance tax laws. The State of Maryland needs to help preserve the inheritance of children in order to take care of their material and educational needs.”

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors


NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors


REGION, October 13th- Legislation was signed into law by Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Edward Rendell that was praised by members of the Building and Construction Trades Unions. The law will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, as well as county district attorneys and the State Attorney General, to crack down on construction firms that classify their employees as “Independent contractors,” thereby avoiding responsibility to pay Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation and Workers Compensation taxes.

House Bill No. 400 was amended by the Pennsylvania Senate on September 21st, and was signed by Mr. Rendell on October 13th.

Under the legislation, no employer shall require or demand that an individual enter into an agreement or sign a document which results in the improper classification of that individual as an independent contractor.

A violation shall be punishable by an administrative fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,500. Each violation shall be considered a separate offense under the law.

“It shall be unlawful for an employer, or an officer or agent of an employer, to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected under this act. Rights protected under this act include, but are not limited to, the right to file a complaint or inform any person about an employer’s noncompliance with this act,” states the legislation.

Twenty other states, including Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, have passed similar laws in the past eighteen months.

“For too long, the state was powerless to act against these fly-by-night firms that skirted Pennsylvania law to the detriment of everyone else. With the governor’s signature on House Bill 400, honest firms will no longer be outbid and undercut simply because they obey the law and pay their taxes,” stated Jack Brooks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Council of Carpenters.

UAW Community Outreach Care Fair


UAW Community Outreach Care Fair

Free Event…. Lots of Giveaways!
Fun for all Ages.

Food • Health Screenings
Games • Music

THURSDAY • AUGUST 19 • 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. @
UAW Local 1183 • 698 Old Baltimore Pike • Newark, DE

Do not miss the UAW-GM Buy American Racing Car Tour Display. NASCAR fans will love this!

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) town hall & dinner in Delaware


The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a non-partisan partnership of leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.

Every citizen in the state of Delaware, the city of Newark and the surrounding region, no matter what their income, education, position, or political leaning should join us to put the critical need to rebuild a new manufacturing economy on the top of the policy agenda. Economists and the public agree that America must have high-quality jobs if we are to have long term prosperity and save America’s middle class. The solution is to rebuild our manufacturing jobs by seizing the opportunity to make green and sustainable products and meet our infrastructure needs. Now is the time, manufacturing is the solution, and you can help make it happen for our nation.

The United States has lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs in the past decade, and more than 50,000 factories have closed. Manufacturing is critical to the nation’s economic growth and our lawmakers must take action to grow good American manufacturing jobs. Together we can “Keep it Made in America.”

Executive Banquet & Conference Center
205 Executive Dr.
Newark, DE 19702

Tuesday, June 29
6:00-9:00 pm

Speakers followed by a panel discussion. Written questions will be submitted from the floor.

Complimentary Dinner Will Be Served

WHO: Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) & you
WHAT: Delaware Town Hall & free dinner
WHEN: Tuesday, June 29: 6:00-9:00
WHERE: Executive Banquet & Conference Center, 205 Executive Drive, Newark, DE 19702
WHY: “Manufacturing a Solution for America’s Economic Woes” is vital for America today and in the future!


Please RSVP to 866-365-2203
For Information Contact: Gwen Miller 302-283-1330 or Stephen Crockett 443-907-2367.

RSVP is a must. We need an accurate count for the dinner.

Alliance for American Manufacturing Town Hall in Delaware on June 29th


Alliance for American Manufacturing Town Hall in Delaware on June 29th

Time: 6-9pm

Location: Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA 74) Hall
201 Executive Drive
Newark, Delaware 19702

Contacts: Gwen Miller 302-283-1330
Stephen Crockett 443-907-2367

Speakers followed by a panel discussion. Written questions taken from the floor. Representatives from labor, business, community, government and more.

I will post the list as soon as it is finalized.

All your members are invited.

Free dinner but you will need to RSVP so we get an accurate count. This is going to be a good meal.

I will post the RSVP phone number on the Mid-Atlantic Facebook page and on the main website.

Email me at if you want updates and a PDF of the flyer to distribute to your membership and fellow leaders.

In solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Richard Korn for Delaware State Auditor Announcement Tour


Please join Richard, Maggie and Alexandra on Richard’s Three County Announcement Tour for State Auditor

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (Sussex)

Saturday, May 22nd 12:00 noon

The Brick Hotel on the Circle

Eighteen The Circle

Georgetown, Delaware 19947

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (Kent)

Saturday, May 22nd 2:30pm

Belmont Hall State Conference Center‎
512 South Dupont Boulevard (new Route 13)
Smyrna, DE 19977

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (New Castle)

Sunday, May 23rd 4:00pm

Sheetmetal Workers Local 19 Union Hall

911 New Road (Next to Corpus Christi Elementary School in Elsmere)

Wilmington, DE 19805

UAW Pancake Breakfast & Flea Market in Delaware on Saturday, May 15th



SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2010
7AM – 2PM


Pancake Breakfast 8-11am $ 6.00

Contact: UAW Local 1183
302-738-4500 x 11 – Alena Bandy
To Reserve your Space!
Reserved Spaces must be paid for in Advance!

698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702.

18 states refuse to run insurance pools for those with preexisting conditions


18 states refuse to run insurance pools for those with preexisting conditions

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer

Eighteen states have said they will not administer a stopgap program to provide insurance coverage to people whose preexisting conditions have left them uninsured, forcing the federal government to do the work.

The states’ decisions increase the challenge the government faces as it sets out to translate the far-reaching health-care legislation into action, and they hint at the complexities to come.

At issue is a provision to extend temporary relief to people with preexisting medical conditions beginning this year, instead of making them wait until 2014, when insurers will be prohibited from turning people away or charging higher premiums based on health status. The health-care law sets aside $5 billion for the “high-risk pools.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told state officials last month that she wanted to build on state programs, and she asked state governments to let her know by April 30 whether they would run the pools at the state level.

As of Monday, 29 states plus the District of Columbia had said they would do so, and 18 said they would leave the job to HHS. Others were undecided.

Some governors said they were unwilling to take on the task because it appears that Congress has allocated too little money.

Meanwhile, it was unclear how soon coverage will be available. The pools will be funded by July 1, but the earliest enrollment dates will vary, depending on such factors as whether states must first adopt new laws or regulations, said Jay Angoff, director of the HHS Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

“There’s not a date certain,” Angoff said. “Some states will be able to come up with this more quickly than others.”

The health-care law says that the high-risk pools are meant to give people with preexisting conditions “immediate access to insurance,” and it requires that they be established within 90 days of the law’s March enactment. To qualify, individuals must have been uninsured for six months. The premiums are supposed to match those for a “standard population.” Out-of-pocket expenses will be capped ## in the case of individuals, at $5,950.

The states that declined to administer risk pools are Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming, according HHS.

Most of those states are led by Republican governors. Three of them ## Delaware, Tennessee, and Wyoming ## are led by Democratic governors. Florida’s governor was elected as a Republican but is now running for a Senate seat as an independent.

HHS has been exploring the possibility of hiring nonprofit insurance companies to operate the pools.

Most states already have high-risk pools, but they can be prohibitively expensive and they generally do not meet the new federal requirements.

The chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has predicted that the $5 billion allotted for the new program will run out as early as next year.

In a letter Friday to Sebelius, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said the state, which will not establish its own high-risk pool, estimates that the $113 million in federal funds available to it will be used up within 22 months. Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources, William A. Hazel Jr., said Monday that setting up the pools “is an enormously complicated undertaking.”

Maryland opted to run its own high-risk pool. John M. Colmers, the state’s secretary of health and mental hygiene, said he did not know if federal funding would be sufficient, but he said the fact that Maryland already has such a pool might mean that the new demand will not be as heavy.

If funds run out, state and federal governments could face difficult choices: reduce benefits, raise premiums or limit enrollment.

“I don’t think any of those options are very attractive,” said Jean P. Hall, an associate research professor studying the matter at the University of Kansas. If it comes to that, “I strongly suspect that they will come up with more money.”

33 States Reported Job Growth in March


33 States Reported Job Growth in March

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania recorded sizable gains in employment in March and were among 33 states posting increases.

In its monthly look at state job trends, the Labor Department said Friday that Maryland led the country with a gain of 35,800 payroll jobs last month. Virginia and Pennsylvania also posted increases that topped 20,000 in the month.

By contrast, Michigan continued to have the nation’s highest unemployment rate and also led the country in job losses in March with a decline of 9,500. Nevada and Florida also posted sizable job losses and were among 17 states recording job losses in the month.

Nationally, the unemployment remained unchanged at 9.7 percent in March while payrolls grew by 162,000, the biggest gain in three years.

The department’s report Friday showed how the job gains and losses were distributed among the states.

The increases in nonfarm payroll employment occurred in 33 states and the District of Colombia. In February, only 23 states had seen job gains while 27 states and the District of Columbia had recorded job losses…..

Read the rest of this article at



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

– Wage Hikes for 800 Office Cleaners –

Wilmington, DE – Janitors in Wilmington and New Castle County have won a historic area-wide contract with wage increases, health insurance, paid vacation and other benefits. After months of negotiations with area cleaning contractors, nearly 800 office cleaners, some of whom currently make as little as $7.25 with no health benefits will see their wages rise to $9.25 by the end of the 2 year contract, and for the first time full-time workers will receive employer-paid health benefits.

“What’s striking is that the men and women who clean the very banks that prompted this economic crisis have successfully fought for higher wages,” said Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ, the largest property service workers union in the country.

The contract will raise industry standards at more than three quarters of the commercial office buildings in Wilmington, and New Castle County including Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.

Under the new 2 year contract, which will go into effect on January, 2010 in Wilmington and in 2011 in New Castle County, office cleaners will earn a minimum wage of $8 per hour or receive a raise of at least 40 cents per hour. Average hourly wages will increase as much as $2 over the life of the 2 years contract, with an annual increases of 70 cent an hour effective January 2011 and a raise of 55 cents an hour on December 31, 2011 for Wilmington workers and a year later starting January 2011 for New Castle County workers. In both areas, for the first time, all full-time workers will receive employer paid quality health care.

“This is the beginning to a better life,” said Willie Grant an Arthur Jackson office cleaner who has been working for almost 3 year for the cleaning contractor in Wilmington. “I suffer from a heart condition, thank God we’re finally going to have healthcare.”

For several months, the union has negotiated on behalf of office cleaners who maintain buildings in Wilmington and New Castle County buildings and facilities. These office cleaners now join thousands of other 32BJ SEIU members who have won contracts improving standards for janitors across the country.

“This is an inspiring victory for 32BJ members, their families and the community of Wilmington,” said Kevin Kelley, Wilmington Council member. “These workers have shown that by uniting together in a union they can win the living wages and health care they deserve.”

With more than 110,000 members in eight states and Washington D.C., 32BJ is the largest property service union in the country.
## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## ## -

EDITOR’S NOTE: I had the pleasure of marching in Wilmington last year with this great union local. This is a huge win for hard-hit Delaware workers. I apologize for not getting this up sooner but I did not get the press release when it was first issued. Hats off to all my friends at SEIU 32BJ! GREAT JOB!!!!!

Chart: Has Your State Left Federal Unemployment Money Unclaimed?


Important information for workers in every state.

Please share this link widely.

Delaware State Worker Pay Cut Fight: Part 2


Delaware State Worker Pay Cut Fight: Part 2

The fight against the proposed 8% pay cut for state employees in Delaware has grown dramatically in scale and intensity in recent weeks. This week, the State Workers United for a Better Delaware coalition has scheduled a Legislative Commitment Rally on Thursday, June 11th on the Legislative Mall in Dover, Delaware.

The crowd will begin gathering at 4pm. Speeches and the public signing of a No Salary Cut Commitment Pledge by legislators will commence at 6pm. At the time of the writing of this article more than a dozen legislators have already announced support for the pledge.

Organized labor has been rallying strongly behind the state workers in opposition to the pay cuts. Union leaders believe that the budget deficit can be solved without resorting to massive pay cuts for workers in Delaware. They have not been shy about proposing numerous alternatives and criticizing the basic unfairness of placing an excessive burden on a relatively under-paid group of workers.

Traditionally, state government employees have been paid significantly less than either federal government employees or workers in the private sector. They traded job security for significantly lower pay. Union leaders think that asking underpaid employees to further reduce their wages cannot be justified for the vast majority of state employees.

Amos B. McCluney, Jr., Chairman of the UAW Local 1183 Retiree Chapter and former Delaware State House member stated, “As a former Delaware state legislator, I realize that not all state workers can afford a pay cut. Lower paid state workers are the guys who are already maxed-out. They are already living paycheck to paycheck. If you cut their pay 8%, they would have to drop their 401K, get an inferior healthcare plan and still not be able to keep their bills current.

It is a different story when it comes to the very highest paid state workers in essentially upper-management positions. The highest paid state employee in Delaware makes around 480,000.00 per year. He can afford a pay cut. He is not going to miss it.”

The importance of finding equitable alternatives seems focused on tax fairness instead of pay cuts. For example, Harry Gravell, President of the Delaware Building and Construction Trades Council explained that “many out of state contractors and sub-contractors evade payment of Delaware taxes by various legal and illegal mechanisms. Closing the tax evasion loopholes by these unethical contractors would certainly generate enough additional tax revenues to close the budget gap and more. There would be no need to cut the pay of state workers.”

Gravell went on to state, “An aggressive effort by the Attorneys General, Labor Department and Governor to go after out-of-state construction industry tax cheats would help create jobs for the citizens of Delaware and protect the interest of honest contractors in Delaware facing unfair competition.”

Brian McGlinchey, Regional Director of Government Affairs for the Laborers’ (LIUNA) union and prominent Democratic Party activist contends that “we can find other sources of revenue to address the short-term budget deficit while we seek fairer solutions. We can certainly tap the Rainy Day fund. We can look at possibly finding some additional revenue from out-of-state corporations, legally headquartered in, but not actually having operations in Delaware.

We need to get more creative in finding solutions that do not lower the standard of living for tens of thousands of struggling working class and middle-class Delaware families. We need to grow our way out of this budget deficit. Pay cuts of this magnitude are not the right answer because pay cuts will not promote economic growth, more jobs or higher tax revenues.”

In Part 1 of this series of articles, the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 1029 was accidentally not included as a member of the State Workers United for a Better Delaware coalition.

Sam Lathem, President of the Delaware State AFL-CIO noted that, “Delaware workers are angry about the employment and tax policies pursued in recent decades at their expense. Tax cuts have long been focused at providing breaks for the wealthiest segment of society and large corporations instead of the working poor and the middle-class. Workers are being driven out of the middle-class by unfair government policy and excessive corporate power. Pay cuts for state workers only make the problem worse. Cutting the pay of workers reduces the buying power of consumers which leads to even more job losses. Job losses reduce tax revenues that already are stretched thin by misguided, excessive tax cuts for those most able to afford to pay taxes. We are putting the burden on the wrong segment of our society.”

AFSCME Council 81 Executive Director Michael Begatto clearly expressed the importance of finding a more equitable solution to the state budget problem. Begatto said, “Delaware public employees provide the vital public services that make Delaware happen. Public employees in Delaware are underpaid, understaffed and overworked and their health insurance rates are increasing by 50%. That means state employees and their families are already sacrificing to help balance our budget.

An 8% pay cut for public employees would be an economic disaster for Delaware. It would take 91 million dollars out of Delaware’s economy. That will deepen our recession. It would hurt small businesses. It would be bad for every Delaware taxpayer.”

The crucial roles played by state workers in economic recovery and proving essential services were highlighted by Pamela T. Nichols, Director of Communications of the Delaware State Education Association, “We have teachers, school nurses, other school specialists who will lose 18, even twenty percent of their normal salary if all of the administration’s salary cuts go through. It’s not just 8% to the base. This is really worse than short-sighted, it is worse than short-sighted to think that taking $91 million out of Delaware’s economy will help us out of economic recession. Cutting salaries to balance the budget is misguided - chasing economic chaos with more economic chaos makes no sense. It will not increase spending or create jobs. It will do just the opposite.

I also think that Delawareans get the connection between devastating public servants and devastating the services they provide. They understand that hurting teachers, for example, hurts education. Times are tough for everyone. We understand that. But devastating more families won’t increase spending or bring jobs and businesses to our state.

There are certainly more responsible ways to shore up our economy, lots of ways, all of which are being discussed by legislators now. Many of them are ideas that will not hurt Delaware’s families, adversely affect any one group, or create more economic downturn.”

When it comes to alternatives, several prominent legislators have pointed to a series of tax cuts enacted for those in the highest income brackets over the years. They indicated that the first 4 or 5 of those tax cuts were passed based on the premise that they would create additional economic growth in Delaware.

However, these same legislators noted that the most recent 4 or 5 tax cuts for upper income Delawareans were passed because the state budget at that time was in surplus. They contend that those recent cuts are not necessarily still justified since the government surpluses are now deficits. Some legislators think it might be a good idea to create additional tax brackets at the highest income levels.

There are many other alternatives being proposed. Many of these, like the Kowalko Plan proposed by State Representative John A. Kowalko, Jr., were mentioned in Part 1 of this series of articles.

It has become clear that there will be a huge political price to pay for any legislators who support budget deficit solution measures that reduce the incomes of Delaware workers. With higher fuel prices, higher food prices, higher medical costs, higher insurance costs and more, Delaware workers understand that any government action aimed at reducing wages for any portion of the workforce will inevitably result in more pressure to reduce wages for other segments of the workforce. Delaware workers cannot afford lower income levels.

The usual tactic of divide and conquer concerning pay rates will not work although the usual suspects in Dover are already floating some proposals of this type. Anti-working class bias is alive and well in the Delaware legislature.

Certain Republican legislators are trying to exploit the budget deficit by trying to eliminate prevailing wage laws in the construction industry. This is another unfair proposal to drive down the standard of living for Delaware workers. These same legislators are completely ignoring the massive tax evasion and violation of labor laws by unethical out-of-state contractors who are often exploiting illegal aliens.

The pay cut proposals being pushed in Dover have united Delaware workers in an unprecedented fashion. The anger they have generated runs very deep. The sense of injury is turning into a very deep and lasting resentment that legislators will be facing for years to come. It is unlikely to go away before the next state election.

Sadly, alternatives are clearly available that are fairer and have many additional benefits for small businesses and the citizens of Delaware. The question remains “will the state legislature look at the alternatives that create jobs and opportunity or will they be blinded by an anti-working class bias?”

Written by Stephen Crockett (Host of Democratic Talk Radio and Editor of Mid-Atlantic . Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Suite 303, Newark, Delaware 19702. Phone: 443-907-2367. Email:

“State Workers United for a Better Delaware” calls for a Legislative Commitment Rally this Thursday, June 11 on Legislative Mall


For more information, contact Vincent Fiscella, Delaware State Troopers Association, at 302-598-6465 (cell), or Pam Nichols, communications chair, DSEA, 302-734-5834

“State Workers United for a Better Delaware” calls for a Legislative Commitment Rally this Thursday, June 11 on Legislative Mall

Media Advisory

What: Commitment Rally for state employees and legislators

Where: Legislative Mall, Dover

When: July 11, 4pm gathering; 6pm speeches and signing of No Salary
Cut Commitment Pledge by legislators

WHY: To recognize those legislators who stand with us in their desire to find $91.7 million in order to eliminate the 8% salary cut proposed by Governor Markell for all of Delaware’s 32,000 state workers.

To once again show our solidarity for a fair and responsible solution to the recession that will promote long-term economic growth, not harm it by taking $91 million out of the economy and devastating 32,000 state workers and their families with salary cuts of 8-10%, even more.

As the General Assembly’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee continues to develop the state’s 09-10 budget, “…We invite them and their legislative colleagues to stand up and be counted, to find funding solutions that are fair and responsible, solutions that will grow our economy, not shrink it,” says Coalition Chair, Sgt. Vincent Fiscella, president of the Delaware State Troopers Association.

Pam Nichols

Communications Chair for State Workers United for a Better Delaware

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Pamela T. Nichols
Director of Communications
Delaware State Education Association
136 E. Water St.
Dover, DE 19901

FAX 1-302-674-8499

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I strongly urge every union activist in Delaware and surrounding communities to attend. If this pay cut for workers approach wins the day in Delaware, we can expect the same approach to be used in other states!