Reality Check: Public Workers Have Already NEGOTIATED Dozens of Concessions

The degree to which the media have accepted the claim that breaking the backs of public employees' unions is in fact related to trimming state budgets -- as opposed to the reality that state budget gaps are being used as a premise to declaw organized labor -- is sad but unsurprising. 

Collective bargaining doesn't automatically lead to higher pay or benefits. Often the opposite is true. Just as private sector unions have no interest in killing the companies that employ their members, state workers know that tax revenues are down and have been negotiating various cost concessions left and right. The key word there is "negotiating." You know, via collective bargaining.

Anyway, as a reality-check, what follows is a long, admittedly boring list of concessions that Ohio's public workers have already made to buoy the state's finances.

A list of some of the recent Union concessions is below:

American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME Council 8) 

Furlough days negotiated with: City of Stow, city of Akron, Summit County Sherriff and Fiscal Office, Stark County Building Department, Cuyahoga Falls, Lawrence County Jobs and Family Services, Scioto County Jobs and Family Services, Butler County Maintenance, City of Cleveland, City of Dayton, City of Columbus, Elyeria Health District, Cuyahoga County Jobs and Family Services, City of Euclid, Fairview Park City, North Olmstead, Brooklyn, North Royalton, Richland County, Richland County Clerk of Courts, Richland County Solid Waste, Columbus Health Department, Clark County Jobs and Family Services, City of Dayton, Dayton Clerk of Courts, Central State University, City of Toledo, Seneca County Jobs and Family Services, University of Toledo, Lucas County Coroner  

32 separate public employers in AFSCME Ohio Council 8 have switched to high deductable health savings accounts through negotiations for large savings in health care costs 

City of Toledo:  Cost savings of over $500,000 including elimination of 3% pension pickup (Equates to 3.5% loss in pay) and substantial increases in health insurance employee contributions

City of Olmstead: 21 unpaid furlough days in 2010 and an additional 21 unpaid days in 2011

City of Brooklyn: layoffs, furlough days, and longevity reduced by 50%

City of Dayton: 5 unpaid furlough days in 2010, 35 fulltime jobs converted to part-time jobs, substantial increases in employee health insurance co-pays

Richland County Employees: 26 unpaid furlough days in 2010, plus elimination of $2,000 employer contribution to employee health savings accounts

Marion County Engineer: Elimination of $4,000 contribution to employee savings accounts

Summit County Sheriff and Fiscal Office: 15 unpaid furlough days in 2010

Lucas county Coroner: 2009-2010, 13 unpaid furlough days

Mahoning County Maintenance: 26 unpaid furlough days

Lawrence County Jobs and Family Services: 26 unpaid furlough days in 2010 and loss of 3% wage increase

Ashland County Jobs and Family Services:  reduced work week from 40 hours to 37 hours a week

Central State University: 8 unpaid furlough days 

Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) 

Among numerous concessionary contracts, OCSEA helped Gov. Strickland balance the budget by taking 10 unpaid furlough days, agreeing to a pay freeze, and increasing our health care to save the state about $340 million 

Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) 

Over the last two years, more than half (125-plus) of the contracts negotiated by OAPSE locals included wage freezes.  Health care costs to employees continued to rise with nearly one-third of new contracts also including health care concessions in addition to wage freezes. 

Many OAPSE local unions have been without wage hikes for years, including: 

Salem City Schools: 8 years without a wage increase

Austintown Local Schools: 6 years without a wage increase

Leetonia Exempted Village Schools: 6 years without a wage increase

Oregon City Schools: 4 years without a pay increase and health care concessions

Marlington Local Schools:  4 years without a wage increase

Lime Head Start: 4 years without a wage increase and family health care was eliminated

Lordstown Local Schools: 3 years of pay freezes

Northwest Local Schools: 3 years without a wage increase

Claymont City Schools: 3 years without a pay increase

Sandy Valley Local Schools: 3 years without a wage increase

Rock Hill Local Schools:  3 year wage freeze and health insurance concessions

Garfield Heights City Schools: 3 years without a wage increase 

AlterNet / By Joshua Holland

Posted at February 25, 2011, 11:29am

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