Communications Workers of America
Mississippi Alliance of State Employees
MASE/CWA Local 3570
Brenda R. Scott
/CWA Local 3570
Brenda Rice Scott
President, MASE/CWA Local 3570
FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK:
For the last year, many workers from across state agencies have been calling the MASE/CWA office. The main concerns have been the impact of the Mississippi State Legislature’s cuts to their agency over the last two (2) years. These cuts have not been unique to just one agency alone but workers across the board. They are quite concerned because there hasn’t been any pay raises though earned, but not given in the last thirteen years. Without any raises, state workers in MS lags over $9,000 in annual salary behind the four (4) surrounding states of TN, LA, AL, and AK. They are experiencing significant increases in caseloads during the same time current staff is leaving for better opportunities and the new staff has to be trained. The workers are raising the issues of upper management’s constant threat of job loss, when it’s obvious that it’s extremely hard to take on more responsibilities with less workers. The public depends on these workers to address the need that they seek from their government and determines from that experience whether their government works for them or not. Oftentimes, these jobs are done by dedicated state and municipal workers who lacks the dignity, respect, pay and justice they deserve as public servant from those in positions to address their concerns.
With this knowledge, the state agencies are coming under more strain as they continue to serve your constituents and they believe that you should be doing everything in your power as a state lawmaker to address their concerns. There is absolutely no way your district is being properly serve by unmanageable workloads, while funding cuts continue to bite. This creates extra pressure, hardship and stress on current workers and the continuous loss of millions of dollars in training new employees.
We have assured the workers that MASE/CWA have spent close to thirty years fighting at the state legislature on behalf of better pay, benefits and rights of state workers and close to the last eight representing city of Jackson employees. We are trying to instill in them that it is their responsibility to petition their elected leaders and holding them accountable for supporting proper funding for their agencies. It is unacceptable for them to continue to neglect the workers and the services that they provide to the public and then in return expect to be rewarded with their votes getting reelected in November 2019. Many of the various agency heads are there asking; but not necessarily fighting for more manageable caseloads by being able to hire more workers to keep up with the increase in demand but no one can tell their story like front-line workers. It is their right and responsibility as public workers and as voters to raise these concerns with their respective lawmakers.
MASE/CWA believe that if state agencies were properly funded by the legislature, they would be in a much better position to hire more workers, reduce caseloads, eliminate far distance travelling and being paid more comparable with the four surrounding states of TN. LA, AL, and AK.
In a number of these agencies, they are dealing with the most vulnerable in our society. In other cases, they are dealing with the most troubled (criminally and mentally). The risk is too great and the results could be a life or death situation. Effectively providing services takes time, constant training, relationship building, service coordination and true engagement. It takes all of this to make a well-respected government that work for the people and produce a positive outcome. This is another reason having the state legislature to do its part is most important.
MASE/CWA will be asking public workers to join with other constituent groups and conduct town-hall style meeting with candidates for statewide office as well as the house and senate district races ahead of this year’s election.