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Last Rally Against 487 Flyer....

ASPTEA's Presidential Election Results

No487 Meeting Flyer

We need your  donations for proposition 487.

Call : Joe Losada (Treasurer) Citizens For Pension Responsibility at  602-769-9838

 

More NO487
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The entire public safety community stands united against Proposition 487. Why? Because this ballot measure – bought and paid for by out of state, dark money political groups – will be bad for Phoenix police officers, Phoenix fire fighters and Phoenix taxpayers.

For months now, the Yes on 487 campaign has created one myth after another about their self-proclaimed “reform” proposition. They have falsely stated that this Prop 487 “will be good for police and fire fighters.” They have said it “will not impact the pensions of police and fire fighters at all.” And they have claimed that this measure, if passed, “will save Phoenix taxpayers $400 million.”

None of these things are true. The truth?

  • Prop 487 will impact police officer and fire fighter retirement security. Police and fire fighters don’t get Social Security benefits, so they depend 100% on their city retirements – which pay an average of about $40,000 annually. Prop 487 will harm these benefits and end the death and disability benefits paid to men and women hurt or killed in the line of duty.

  • Prop 487 will destroy police and fire fighters pensions. Read the ballot language. It plainly states that Prop 487, “will prohibit City contributions to any other retirement plan including … the police officer and firefighter retirement system.” That will surely be challenged in court, leading to years of litigation and a multi-million-dollar legal bill for taxpayers.

  • Prop 487 will COST taxpayers $358 million over the next 20 years. That number comes straight from the City’s independent analysis of the ballot measure. You can read the analysis for yourself here. $358 million is nearly $700 per Phoenix family - we simply can’t afford Prop 487.

As you can see, there are many good reasons your police and fire fighters stand opposed to Proposition 487. Please, as you mark your ballot between now and Election Day, stand with our public safety families and vote No on 487. Thank you for your support.

The No on 487 Team

ASPTEA Board Elections
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•Timeline
–Bio's are now online
–Election information/ballots e-mailed to membership by Monday, October 13, 2014
–Election will take place at ASPTEA Office on Thursday, October 23, 2014.
•Walk ins – 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
•Mail in ballots – Must be in ASPTEA Mailbox by 5:00 p.m. October 23, 2014.

Information on the future of your Pension.

Key Points IF the Voters approved Prop 487.


All new employees will be on a 401K retirement plan (no pension benefit option).

Current employees will have their PENSION Final Average Salary (F.A.S.) calculated with new formulas:
1st-the highest three (3) years within the last ten (10) years of service changed to the highest five (5) years within the last ten (10) Years of service.
2nd–your PENSION F.A.S. will be calculated only on your base wages.
3rd-Deferred Comp eliminated.

Retirees
will have their Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) eliminated.

EVERYTHING you have worked and saved for your future and PENSION will be gone!!! ASK your family, friends, neighbors and all other citizens of Phoenix to VOTE NO on Proposition 487.

Voters will receive early ballots beginning on October 9th.
Join us in the fight-ask ALL Phoenix Voters to vote NO on Prop 487

Contact the Office for volunteering opportunities(602-254-8474)
 
This WILL cost the taxpayers $350 million to $650 million dollars, and WILL severely cut City services to our community. National statistics, actuaries and numbers don’t lie!

 

PROPOSITION 487
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In the next few weeks Phoenix residents will be voting on our Pension Initiative Proposition 487. Many people are wondering what the affects of this measure will be? This measure will change the course our city and employment. We are all working hard to educate employees on what efforts can be provided to make sure people vote!

 

This issue affects all employees regardless of being a part of labor or not. This cuts across all lines and levels of employment. It will even reach into the pockets of retirees. Many of you know that Pension reform was enacted two years ago and the affects of that has caused potential new employees to reject working for the city.

 

This is a moment when we MUST take the time to Vote and Vote NO! The City cannot afford the ramifications of this initiative and neither can the community. Public Safety is also in jeopardy of losing their first respondent death benefit. Join us in making sure every Phoenix resident exercises their right to vote. Thank You.
 
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Phoenix Pension Reform Letter From COPRA(MUST READ)


Phoenix Pension Reform Act Poses Threat to City Workers and Funds

The so-called Phoenix Pension Reform Act – funded and pushed to the ballot by out-of-state dark money and by shadow groups like the “Arizona Free Enterprise Club” – may well qualify for the city election ballot later this year. The backers of this measure used paid circulators to gather more than 54,000 signatures, or about twice the 25,480 verified signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.

The measure claims to do two things: One, “end the illegal practice of pension spiking,” and two, “transition new city employees into a more sustainable and fair 401(k) style-defined contribution plan.” The Tea Party aligned supporters of the initiative say this would “fix Phoenix’s broken pension system” and “protect taxpayers from ballooning pension costs.”

That is absolutely not true – a point that we must make early and often if we’re to defeat this measure on Election Day.   (READ MORE)


 
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401K Failures

  • Michigan: Michigan began enrolling all new state employees in a 401(k)- type plan in 1997. Since then, the system’s unfunded liabilities have skyrocketed, from $697 million in 1997 to $4.078 billion in 2010. This increase partly reflects inadequate employer contributions to pay for the unfunded liability.
  • Alaska: Alaska adopted a 401(k)-type plan for both new state and public school employees that became effective in 2006. Although sold as a way to reduce the employer contribution rates, these rates have increased. Across the two plans, the unfunded liabilities associated with the closed defined benefit plan have increased from $3.8 billion in 2006 to$ 7 billion in 2011 (the latest year for which data are available).
  • West Virginia: West Virginia adopted a 401(k)-type plan in 1991, but reversed course in 2006, reopening its defined benefit plan to all new hires in 2005 and allowing the members of the 401(k)-type plan to switch into the defined benefit plan. There were several reasons cited for the switch back, including a study done by West Virginia’s Consolidated Public Retirement Board, which found that the individual account balances in the 401(k)-type plan were not on track to generate adequate retirement income for public employees and that public employees would have such low incomes in retirement that they would be eligible for means-tested public programs, driving up costs to the state.
Quotes
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Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein

 I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.
Walt Disney

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke

ALEC
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ASPTEA special invite for viewing of "United States of ALEC: A Follow-Up"

 

Check out the Video at PBS....

Mike Cusimano Education Award
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The following students were winners of the 2014 Mike Cusimano Education Award.
 
Gage McKenna Howell  
Candy Howell member - Fire Department
Erik Isaacson
Phil Isaacson member Housing Department
Kelly Ann Smith
Laurie Smith member - City Clerk Department
Francesa Olguin
Anissa Blair member - Human Services Department
 
Release Hours
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Let's Talk
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 See Ron's comments on Facebook!

ASPTEA Now has Aflac
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ASPTEA members can now sign up for Aflac at discount Rates! 

For More Information on the Plans see the Video's below..

Cancer Care Plan

Accident Indemnity Advantage Plan

Hospital Advantage Plan

Dental Plan

Critical Care and Recovery Plan

Vision Now Plan

 

Prop. 487 Pension Reform
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Prop. 487 Pension Reform:
Not Ready for Prime Time

Protracted legal battles, poorly worded initiative,
'Dark Money' from anonymous sources.
Who needs it? Not us. Not now.


On the ballot this fall is Phoenix’s Proposition 487 regarding the pension plan for employees of the City of Phoenix.

Our recommendation: No on 487
After careful review of the facts and of the opinions of leading experts both for and against the proposition, we recommend voting ‘No’ on the proposal.

We think that Prop. 487 is, as the saying goes, ‘not ready for prime time.’

About the proposition
Prop. 487 seeks to change the City of Phoenix retirement system from a defined benefit system to a 401(k) defined contribution plan. In layman’s terms, it means that the responsibility for performance of the funds rests either with the City of Phoenix (the current defined benefit plan) or with the employee (the proposed defined contribution plan).

While we think this is an argument wholly worthy of a public debate, voting in favor of this amendment is not, in our opinion, the way to do it.

Why vote against Prop. 487?
Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy completed a non-partisan Citizens’ Initiative Review where Phoenix’s pension reform proposal (Proposition 487) was thoroughly examined for 3½ days by 20 participants who represented a sample of Phoenix voters based on demographic criteria, according to information on its web site.

One of the things that experts seem to agree upon is a protracted legal battle if the proposition passes. From the Morrison Institute findings:

Both sides expect legal challenges due to the unclear language of Proposition 487, which may delay the implementation of the Proposition and incur legal costs to the City of Phoenix.

And…

... as written, Proposition 487's impact on police and firefighters is unclear, and may contribute to unintended financial and legal consequences for employees, the city, and taxpayers.

A protracted legal battle means that it could cost the city millions just to learn how to implement the plan. That’s not our idea of reform.

Where did it come from? Who’s paying for it?
Many experts seem to think the proposition was poorly worded. We’ve been told by people familiar with the Citizens’ Initiative Review that one of the leading proponents was asked ‘Who wrote the proposition?’ His response was that he didn’t know. Also, funding in support of the proposition remains secret, feeding the fears of untraceable ‘dark money’ flooding our elections.

We believe that we should know who wrote it and who is funding it. Many of us live here because of the sunshine; we think sunshine has an even greater place in our politics.

We have always been supportive of true pension reform
In March 2013, Citizens for Phoenix supported the pension reform on the ballot and provided an argument in favor for the city’s official voter guide. In the guide, we wrote:

“We support the plan for pension changes, but we wish the City Council would have gone further.”

We still hold that position. But this is no way to achieve it. Vote ‘No’ on Prop. 487 and encourage and continue a public debate on the issue of pension reform until what we vote on is truly ready for prime time.

-Citizens for Phoenix

Please forward this to your members and affiliated organizations.

LINK: ASU's Morrison Institute Citizen Initiative Review on Prop. 487

487 Polls Results
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In the last several weeks people have been anxiously waiting for the updated results on whether the campaign against Proposition 487 was effective?

 

Well, the results are back! Because people have shown their strong support against the Proposition the polls show that we have increased the “NO “ by 20 points, which means it started from a disadvantage of 15 points. Now, it’s at a 35 percent increase and growing. The supporters of this initiative are down from their starting point. This means we are being heard.

It is amazing how walking door to door and talking to people makes a difference. The fight is not over! We have to continue the effort until the election. Updates will be provided as it surfaces. Thanks to all the people involved in the effort and continue to volunteer and bring signs to neighbors and friends who are willing to share in our concerns.
PENSION INITIATIVES
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People are wondering what is going on with this “Pension initiatives” that are lurking round the city of Phoenix and why ASPTEA has not released any comments about this? We have not released any comments because there are too many unknowns.Once the language and actual proposals are finalized then we will release a response. A lot of conversations are happening and too much confusion is going on. Keep in mind that if any of these initiatives become accepted we are going to change the face of our work force and our organization. The potential ramifications will be devastating if people ignore this. It will affect All employees including retirees.

Stay tune!

Thank You.

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS
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In the next few weeks, all Unit 7 employees will be receiving three additional hours of vacation time.


Release time is utilized for employee representation during PMG appeals, investigatory processes, grievance preparation, and the day-to-day management of the union office.  


Without representation during the recent contract negotiations, the situation would have been much worse: loss of longevity, merit freezes and wage cuts.  This was the City’s initial offer for our package. During the negotiation process, your ASPTEA representatives met with the City to minimize our concessions.  This would not have been possible without our bank of release hours.  We understand that no one is happy about losing any compensation, but the ability to have a voice is crucial. 


There may be those who feel that our services are not necessary or needed, The Goldwater Institute, for instance.  The elimination of “Release Time” is another of their attempts to weaken pubic employees. Their goal is to outsource your job and eliminate your pension.  Please don’t help them to be successful.


We are asking for your support and participation in this effort and hope that you will decide to Opt in your donation of three hours or more. Attached to this message is the donation form.  Please show your commitment to preserving your benefits and future security.  Don’t be afraid to help and show you care for your colleagues and our service to the people of Phoenix. 


OPT IN Form


ANGER IN THE CROWD
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Now that negotiations are over and our new contract is signed, it is time to discuss and share why and how our decisions were made with regard to the concessions.  We have been receiving some negative feedback from our membership about how they feel ASPTEA misrepresented them during the process.  Many members are now dropping their ASPTEA membership as a result.  This could not come at a worse time for our organization as we are asking people to help ASPTEA out with the donation of the three hours that the city is giving to each employee (on July 25, 2014) because of a recent court decision.

I know this has been explained before, but the Goldwater Institute sued the Police Department Union (PLEA) and they won a judgment that we feel illegally enjoined ALL city unions and associations. Part of the judgment related to how full time union officers are paid.  Currently, all full-time union officers are paid by a small wage concession from every member of their unit.  Our unit (Unit 7) encompasses approximately 3200 people.  The way the City is choosing to meet the terms of the lawsuit is to convert those wage concessions into vacation hours, which equates to approximately 3 hours per year, per unit member for Unit 7.  Each unit member gets a choice of whether to donate those hours to their association so that they can continue to perform association business or keep it for themselves.  Donations of 3 hours (or more) from each member will be critical to maintain staffing of the ASPTEA office.  We are shooting for a goal of 6,000 hours to get us through fiscal year 2014/15.

FYI – PLEA and Fire employees have ponied up all of the hours those unions need to have continuous operations while we wait for the outcome of the appeal to the court decision.


Union release was just part of the concession package that will begin on July 1, 2014.  ASPTEA went above and beyond during this negotiation period by holding 21 separate focus group meetings in January.  Although all 21 sessions were fully booked (20 persons each), only about half of those who registered attended.   In April, a survey was sent to each member to rank concessions after we found out that Fire had caved in and agreed to a 2.5% concession package.  Nearly 75% of our membership participated in the survey.  ASPTEA took the information we received from the membership and constructed two concession choices (three if you count the choice to do nothing).  Over 80% of the membership voted on the concession package. Membership was given costing sheets and ASPTEA held two informational meetings to explain the issues and another for the ratification process.

NO other association or union gave their membership more than one choice until it was time to vote and then for only one option.  

We know that no matter what we do or say there is always a group of people that won’t be satisfied with the outcome.  I am asking that same group to look at the situation our organization was in and work with us. As a consequence of this new approach to the way ASPTEA will be conducting the day-to-day business of representing our unit, we find ourselves having to make a bigger distinction between members and non-members. While this illegal judgment is imposed on all the labor groups, non-members will have to either pay in time for any services or get none. Giving services to non-members would be “gifting” and we certainly don’t want to violate any court rule. So, we are back to the original request. Over time I have made it clear that I am not a person who thrives on fear or intimidation, but work in a mature and factual disposition. I understand the resentment of not getting what we expected, but I too have endured the pain and sacrifice that everyone has had to accept. Lets make lemonade out of lemons and help each other.

Thank You.

MOA is Released
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We are finally here; our 2014-2016 MOA has been completed and released. Members can have their own copy or visit our web site to review.


The road was long and hard, but there was light at the end of the tunnel. As we close this chapter some people may not be satisfied with the outcome or conclusion, but the difficulty was to reach the objective set for us and to maintain our level of service.


Outcomes from this process were more positive then negative.What most people don’t know is the depth of the potential damages that lurked in the early stages. Our committed team at ASPTEA was diligently working around the clock to keep our balance and stability with the outcomes. It is always easy to point and criticize when the danger is unknown. 


Once again thanks to the membership, ASPTEA Negotiation team and ASPTEA Board. 


MOA Link


Opt-In Winners....
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iPad winner :       Karl Hamza         Public Works Energy
$100  Gift Card:  Juan Rodriguez    Parks Supervisor
$50 Gift Card:     Janis Lair             Police
 
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ASPTEA MEMBERSHIP RATIFIED THE 2014 -2016 CONTRACT.   OVER 90% OF MEMBERS ATTENDING THE MEETING VOTED FOR THE CONTRACT. 


Year 1 (FY 2014/15)
Reduce Deferred Compensation from 5.16% to 3.06% (a 2.10% decrease) in 2014-15.

Year 2 (FY 2015/16)
Reduce Deferred Compensation from 3.06% to 1.91% (additional 1.15% decrease) in 2015-16. 

Message from Ron on the Final Negotiations