Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Greece Median Incomes Down 16% In 10 Yrs

Median Household Income Falls 4% Since 2005
C of C Blames Kodak Job Losses

City of Rochester Had 2% Income Growth Since 2005 Despite 14% Decline Since 1999

Census Data Examined in Article

MESSAGE TO GTA: It's time for you folks to get real about negotiations on your side of the table! The days of 4% pay increases are LONG GONE!


Anonymous said...


I'm not sure I see your logic in bashing the unions here. It seems gratuitous and takes the focus of the real problem.
After all the unions and the teachers union had absolutely nothing to do with the loss of jobs in the area. Kodak with always quite virulently anti-union. Fols got fired for being pro union. How did that work out for saving all those jobs?
The 16% decline is very serious and our local leaders, like Auberger and Esposito have done nothing for th past decade to stem it. The problem lies with our industrial leaders and out elected officials, not with those who work for a living.

SCATS your suggestions seems consistent with the race to the bottom. let's lower everyone's wages while letting corporate leaders prosper. The race to the bottom will only lead to further drops in wages. I think you are wrong to bring the union contract into this discussion

SCATS said...

To 9:37AM ~~ Union bashing? Give me a break! Suggesting that the days of 4% pay increases in a town that's hurting economically the way Greece is hurting is NOT "union-bashing."

Regarding "the race to the bottom" Greece is already there! We have the hardest hit economy in the area! And our schools performances aren't doing much better. Besides, a considerable number of Greece teachers don't even live in Greece.

Regarding "lowering everyone's wages" ~~ WHERE did I say anything about that? Not getting a 4% increase IN THE FUTURE doesn't lower your wages!

I do agree about the statement related to the failure of our local leaders to do anything to help the situation.

Anonymous said...

9:37 -
I hear your boss (superintendent) didn't get a raise either. Seems like it would be consistent to keep GTA wages flat too.

Anonymous said...

With all their perks and raises administrators here have more than kept up with inflation.

Throughout the last 20 years or so unions (and non union workers) have been asked to make concessions bear the brunt of the economic bad times. But when things pick up they never get those concessions back.

If I were in a union (I'm not and don't speak for any unions here so don't put my words in their mouth) I wouldn't give up any more concessions. They tend to be permanent.

SCATS said...

To 11:56AM ~~ Could you give a couple examples of what you're saying related to the GTA contract?

Anonymous said...

How did that philosophy work out for the people at valeo and delphi?
But public employees are safe unless their job is deleted. If the job is removed like for example the counselors then they can be removed according to seniority and certification. We won't get into again all of the non required positions and programs we have in Greece and most of the school districts in New York State. Maybe there should be a back to basics movement in this state regarding education using home school parents as mentors.

SCATS said...

From the email - PART I:

A couple of points.....

Local leaders don't have quite so much input to economic development OVERALL. They can keep local spending and taxes within reasonable limits. They can make sure onerous zoning rules aren't a barrier to development, and they can keep the infrastructure and services in reasonable shape. I would suggest that corporate location decisions are based more on the larger picture and the overall "friendliness" of the state economic environment!

I would contend that state officials and policy play a more significant role. New Yorkers (citizens and businesses) pay way too much in sales tax, corporate and personal income taxes, and nuisance taxes (often called fees) than states against which we compete to keep and/or attract new business startups. State mandates imposed on local government (which drives up local taxes burdens) are totally within the state's control to either fund or eliminate! The state's antiquated and bloated pension system for public employees needs to be reformed to increase working time before retirement, insist that new employees contribute more to their own pensions (a new tier is needed) similar to the transformation that has happened in the private sector (defined pensions have been all but eliminated)! State spending is out of control!

The recent decision by Golisano to say hello to Florida and bye bye to New York suggest that business leaders ain't totally stupid! Our neigboring state of Connecticut has been losing millionaires for the last few years since they imposed a state income tax on their residents and then proceeded to "grow it" from an initial 4% to 5% and are now considering raising it even higher to close their budget gaps. They are chasing the "well heeled" to other states and thus lose the revenues these folks provide. Duh...it works just like the economic textbooks say it does! You can't tax your way to prosperity!

I would contend that prior CEO's of the "big yellow box" were slow to recognize the digital transformation that was taking place and instead relied on the very, very profitable film sales to mask the evergrowing shortcomings of EK's business model. Kodak insiders have continuously regaled me with stories of R&D projects that were "shelved" instead of exploited in the marketplace which ultimately allowed Kodak's competitors to run them out of business. The sale of Eastman Chemical caused Kodak to lose an important and profitable division. Kodak stock trades for $5/per share, Eastman Chemical trades for $50/per share. When Kodak's CEO's "blew it", they got their fat retirement payouts while the Greece Kodak workers got laid off!

SCATS said...

From the email - PART II:

As for the GTA, they haven't given up much of anything while their fellow citizens lost jobs, pensions, retirement health benefits, etc. The GTA members are protected by the Taylor Law and the Triborough Amendment and thus continue to get annual increases that outpace inflation and generous taxpayer funded retirement benefits. The only exception being those teachers at the very top of the pay chart who get no salary increases but still get the continously growing "health care nut" mostly covered by the district's 90% contribution. The GTA works the shortest work day among their county teaching peers and are higher paid than most county teachers! In short, they have it made! While it is true that other professions can make more money than a teacher, that fact is not a new development. They should have known that when they elected "teaching" as their profession. They are of course free to return to school, upgrade their educations, and seek jobs as electrical or chemical engineers, computer specialists, lawyers, doctors are whatever their heart's desire might be. They will likely earn more money (assuming they can find a job....probably in North Carolina and not in New York) but then they will more likely be subject to the whims of the private sector economy's business cycles and will have to give up the cushy life of a taxpayer funded, Taylor Law protected, public servant with a guaranteed, never ending retirement funding source for life! Can't say that for private sector employees who rely on their IRA and 401K's for their retirement income. And when the stock market turns down, thereby reducing the value of their retirement fund, there is no TAXPAYER riding to the rescue to replenish the depleted pool of money! Not much to "bitch" about it seems to me!

I think that is why they tell you to "eat dessert first!" ain't it?

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote the "email" is a very good writer and says what many of us have been thinking. Is it anonymous or did i miss something?

SCATS said...

To 4:38PM ~~ The author didn't want recognition.

Anonymous said...

The whole "I don't have these protections so you shouldn't either" argument is a tad childish.

Different professions have different advantages and disadvantages. Would teachers love to have the high starting salaries of computer engineers? Sure. Would computer engineers like to have contract protections and a pension? Probably.

People make choices as to what career they'd like to pursue for a variety of reasons (interest, financial security, ability to help others, etc.) The problem with complaining about one group's advantages is that you ignore the challenges and difficulties that go along with said job.

Ditch diggers get to spend a lot of time outside - that might sound great to many people... oh, but they have to do back-breaking physical labor... forgot to mention that. Stock brokers get million dollar bonuses, but have shaky job security and are hated by millions.

You need to look at a profession as a whole, not at just certain benefits.

That's my $0.02

SCATS said...

To 5:34PM ~~ Speaking of childish ... wearing union t-shirts to school, marching in demonstrations because they aren't getting everything they want, complaining about their customers, their horrible hours and work conditions ... that's similar to a two year old's tantrum where I come from.

On the issue of making choices, they don't want to be computer engineers because they'd have to work a FULL YEAR and pay for their own MS degree ;)

Anonymous said...

certainly enjoy your hatred of teaching. I love how you lump all teachers together. How many teachers have you actually talked to about their contract? Are you sure all of these greece teachers are complaining about hours, benefits etc... Or do most of them actually just go do their job?

Charlie Hubbard said...

A big part of the problem is these contracts have been and are now nothing but 'give-aways'.
Therefore some have become weened on ENTITLEMENTS. We are ENTITLED to more because district A got XX and district B got YY.
That paradime MUST be broken.
So don't blame the unions - they know no different. Put 100% of the blame on the school boards who have approved these 'do-nothing' contracts.
These contracts are so bad the school board members who approved them should be lock-up for fraud.

The taxpayers have been spit on enough, it is time 'they' get something for thier money.
The days of the give-aways must come to an end.

SCATS said...

To 6:26PM ~~ Hatred of teaching? Hardly. You said: " I love how you lump all teachers together." Are you trying to tell me that YOU didn't participate in the march? If you did, then YOU lumped yourself with the bigger group.

Anonymous said...

The last I heard the district was proposing that teachers take a pay cut and pay more for their benefits. Why would anyone in their right mind agree to that? Not a single one of you could say that you would agree to that if you were in the same position. If you do you are just lying to yourself.

Anonymous said...

I did not participate in the march, I go to work and do my job. I never complain about money or insurance. The only things I bring up to my GTA reps are actual school related issues such as possibly changing the high schools from block scheduling. Yet we get no where with the district when discussing these things. If you talk to most teachers, the GTA contract is the last thing on their mind. We focus on school related things, yet we constantly run into district road blocks when we propose any changes.

Anonymous said...

No I did not participate in the march. If you speak to most teachers their GTA contract is the last thing on their minds. We focus on things that actually effect learning in the classroom, like possibly looking at whether block scheduling is actually beneficial. Yet whenever these things are proposed to district officials we run into constant road blocks. The district wants to have those buzz words that sound good in the paper like "SMART" goals. But most of the district admin has no clue what actually goes on in the classroom and where we need changes to help make our students successful.

Anonymous said...

I would argue that this contract is more about trust than it is money. The teachers are well aware of the changes in the community. They work in the community daily.

Keep in mind, only a few years ago, teachers were being 'observed' to the point of legal discrimination. This was at the will of the administration and supported by the board. Yes, the board elected by the community.

While the law suits have been settled, many of the teachers and administration who were part of these actions are still around. While the administration may have stopped pressing the observation process to illegal proportions, little has been done in many buildings to mend those wounds. There is still a great bit of distrust among a great many teachers.

Before you go telling the teachers to deal with it. Make sure you know research shows that the sense of community, collaboration and trust in a building does more for achievement than the resources available.

While it might not make great blog headlines, the key is to focus on building a sense of community and trust. This is a win for everyone.

SCATS said...

To 6:49 & 6:54PM ~~ There is just one thing I wish for the students in Greece. I wish that their teachers were so focused on educating them to the best of the their ability that the students could graduate after completing 13 years of education WITHOUT KNOWING their teachers are in a union, protesting a contract impasse, demanding raises and the like.

When an elementary school student arrives home from school talking about how the teachers were all dressed alike, then it becomes obvious, the focus that day was NOT on educating students.

SCATS said...

To 8:50PM ~~ If I'm not mistaken, there's a large portion of students in this didtrict that come from one parent households. That being the case, your chances of getting a sense of community trust are about as good as my chances are for kids to graduate without learning about the union before doing so.

Anonymous said...

The thought that wearing the same T-shirts on a day would be enough to distract teachers from educating the children of Greece is so laughable I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

There are MANY issues which are actually potentially distracting than the wearing of a shirt and none of them ever distract the vast majority of teachers from doing their job to the utmost of their ability.

SCATS said...

To 3:55PM ~~ It's not the teachers I had in mind, it's the CHILDREN.

Thank you for proving my point!

Anonymous said...

Children have many things in mind that come and go - the shirts came and went in their minds in a few seconds.. like most other things ;)

And I'm always happy to refute your "points."

SCATS said...

To 6:12PM ~~ I'm so glad you know what is or isn't in the minds of Greece students. We'll put you in charge of raising graduation rates.

Anonymous said...

I've had several students think my GTA shirt meant Grand Theft Auto...

SCATS said...

To 7:34PM ~~ I hope they are of the proper age for familiarity with that game. If I recall, it's for "Mature" audiences.

Anonymous said...

That must put Jo Meleca Voigt in a tuff spot. GSC school teacher who is part of the problem of the overbloated tax system running for county legislature where she claims same taxes are to high. Greece dem leader who blames everyone else.

If ever there was an oxymoron, she is one. When hell freezes over is all I have to say about that!!!!!

SCATS said...

To 11:01PM ~~ I've asked the question about whether or not she participated in the GTA march. All I got was silence. I guess I'll assume the worst unless she would like to set the record straight on that issue.