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6 — The PlainDealer

July 2009

At the Rail

Column by Martin Hawver 6/15/09 Remember back in February, about Valentine’s Day, when the state needed to borrow some money from idle accounts to put into the State General Fund or some 40,000 Kansas employees wouldn’t be paid? Remember legislative leaders wailing that their constituents were being held hostage by the governor, used as a club to force them to allow that internal borrowing that the governor wanted to do but the Legislature wasn’t keen on? It was a pretty interesting little showdown. And, by the way, the Legislature lost. There were some other things going on, but finally, the Legislature’s top leaders went along with the borrowing because they were basically not prepared to go home for the weekend and face constituents who didn’t get a paycheck on that mid-February Friday. Well, legislators were mad; they realized that if there is one ultimate political lever that a governor can use to get what the governor wants, it is probably not paying lawmakers’ constituents. And…that’s all over now. It was quiet, nobody paid much attention to it, but in the last hours of the 2009 Legislature, a bill got passed and eventually signed into law that will never allow state employees-not just the “regular” folk who work for state agencies, but also members of the Kansas National Guard who are essentially the prom queens of the state payroll – to be used as hostages by an administration to force lawmakers to approve internal borrowing. The administration can put a halt on payments to school districts, to universities, hold back payments to contractors or maybe delay payments to others, but state employees are off the table. Is this a big deal? Yes. Almost immediately after July 1 passes and the state begins a new fiscal year with virtually no money in the bank, legislative leaders are going to be asked to approve more of that internal borrowing-probably the same money that the state will repay on the last day of June to square up the books. If the leaders OK the borrowing, well, that’s just the course of business. But if they want to dissect just what that newly borrowed money will be used for, they won’t have to worry that the paychecks of their state employee-constituents are on the line. In a time of tight budgets, the balance of power shifts, just a little, toward the Legislature. We’ll see where that takes lawmakers… Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report.

Direct Pipeline PLUMBERS & PIPEFITTERS LU441 Locally

Richard L. Taylor, Business Manager and Financial Secretary-Treasurer

As of May 1st a new Contractor, Mid-American Water and Plumbing Inc., became signatory to Local 441. Mid-American is a Contractor that has been in business for over twenty years and is located in Manhattan. Organizer/Agent Phil Petty is primarily responsible for signing this new contractor and was also successful in organizing all of their current employees that perform plumbing and pipefitting work for the company totaling 22 new members. The new members include a mixture of Journeymen and Apprentices at various years of classification. As the opportunity arises for you to meet Richard Taylor these new members, please make them feel welcomed as new members of Local 441. MidAmerican has proven to be very aggressive and has bid several projects over the past couple of months. One most notably that Mid-American was successful on is the Marysville Hospital Project that will start late summer or early fall. We have golf balls, tee shirts, and hats. Come by and get outfitted with Local 441 apparel. Please take time to view your web site. The address is: .

Deaths We are sorry to report the deaths of Brother Gerald E. McEachern, 65, Ret. Pipefitter, residing in El Dorado, KS, passed away on May 18, 2009, Brother Bernard A. Vande Velde, 77, Ret. Pipefitter, residing in Topeka, KS, passed away on May 28, 2009, Brother Mike R. Sporn, 44, Pipefitter, residing in Wichita, KS, passed away on May 30, 2009 and Brother Harold M. Burns, 81, Ret. Pipefitter, residing in Cherokee, KS, passed away on May 31, 2009. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with their families.

Political Although obvious political activities have slowed with the wrapping up of the Legislative Session and 2009 not being an election year, we must still maintain contact with our political leaders. The preparation that is involved in attempting to change or restructure current bills or laws is a lengthy process. It is not too early to start laying the groundwork to make changes at the state level during next year’s session that can affect labor in a positive way. One item that is at the top of our agenda is to bring back state prevailing wage. We will continue to build a long-lasting establishment in the political arena of our jurisdiction. We feel that it is critical to maintain a presence politically so that when issues arise; the local will already have an established voice that will be heard. Thank you to all Local 441 members for your support both through your participation in the PAC fund and your involvement and support with various political groups.

Meetings Local Union 441 meetings are being conducted on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Union Hall located at 1330 East First Street in Wichita. If other meetings are scheduled, you will be duly notified. NOTE: We have recently upgraded our system used to teleconference the monthly Union meetings. Please take the opportunity to attend a meeting in your area. The new system has much better sound and video quality and is being provided at no additional cost to Local 441.

Retirees Club The next Retirees meetings will be on July 1st, August 5th, and September 2nd at 10 a.m. at the Hall. Please come and join us! Breakfast is the second Wednesday at 9 a.m. We are meeting at Spears Restaurant, 4323 W. Maple from January through November. All retired members and their families are invited to join us. Come enjoy the fellowship! For more information, call Jim Wilbert at 722-6859.

Laid off, but want to continue to receive The PlainDealer? Losing a job means losing so much more than just employment. It impacts many other subtle physical and psychological effects: Losing a social environment and peers; a place to make a contribution of skills; job and associative benefits. Laid-off union workers who would like to continue to receive The PlainDealer can subscribe at a greatly-reduced rate of just $6 a year. Contact Melanie Jenney, Editor of The PlainDealer, at (316) 529-8513 for more information. Archived issues are available online at (Look for the link in the right column.) Finished reading this issue of The PlainDealer? Pass it on to a laid-off brother or sister.

Plain Dealer, 07/2009  

Wichita Area Union Newsletter