Mickie Winkler e-mail: Update on Unions and the Campaign
Original post made by Richard Hine, editor of The Almanac, on Oct 31, 2006
Dear Menlo Park Residents,
You know me as a plain talker. I report information that no one else reports. Today, I will address how the SEIU union is attempting to influence the outcome of our city's council election on Nov. 7 and why it is spending tens of thousands of dollars to do just that.
How is the union attempting to influence you?
You have recently been mailed two professionally-produced hit pieces paid for by the Foster-City based San Mateo Central Labor Council. One shamelessly distorts information about the Burgess Pool and its highly successful operation.
The second urges you to vote for the council candidates the Union has endorsed -- Robinson and Cline.
Both hit pieces urge you to "fire Duboc and Winkler."
What did Duboc and Winkler do to earn this kind of vitriol? The following quote from the Almanac tells it all. "If there are current council members running for re-election who support privatization, we will oppose them. Things will only get hotter leading up to November." Sasha Eisner, SEIU union (Almanac, Apr.24, 2006).
In short, Duboc and Winkler have dared to stand up to the SEIU (union) and put the Menlo Park taxpayer first.
The Union has a lot at stake.
It wants the city to take back the pool operation which will forfeit the quality programming and savings of over $400,000 annually. It will also put an average of 40 pool employees back on the city's payroll.
The SEIU also wants to prevent any future outsourcing.
The City has a lot at stake too.
We have the perfect storm of rising pension and long-term retiree health-care obligations, double digit health-care increases, and a rapidly aging work force.
Even though, through attrition and early retirement, we reduced staff by 13% in the last 4 years, employee costs have risen 27%. These costs do not include $13million in unfunded retiree health-care benefits. We cannot withstand this kind of fiscal strain.
Furthermore, the SEIU is on a multi-city campaign to have pension benefits increased so that employees can stop working after 22 years and receive the same benefits they now receive after 30 years. (=2.7 at 55).
Since 73% of our budget is spent on employee compensation packages, the only realistic way to contain costs is by limiting the number of staff.
Here are the choices:
-- Grow our tax base from businesses. We are very successfully doing this, despite claims by our political opponents to the contrary.
-- Cut services. Nobody wants that.
-- Prudently manage the budget, which we have balanced for the last 4 years, and look for improved quality and efficiencies that may be achieved with competitive bidding.
-- Or permanently raise taxes. Duboc and Winkler do NOT agree with Sasha Eisner, leader of the SEIU union who says "Finding that money [to pay for employee benefits] might be easier if local agencies would raise taxes." (Almanac Aug.2 2006)
I am sure you will be receiving more union-funded and other hit pieces, but I hope this email will help you to be skeptical. If you have any questions about the "facts" you read, don't hesitate to contact Lee or me -- MickieWinkler@aol.com, LeebDuboc@aol.com. And please know, we will continue to stand up to the SEIU union for you.