Northampton County employees are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. Former executive Glenn Reibman eliminated over 100 jobs and sent over forty of them home. They've seen no payraises in nearly four years. While judges have a nice new private dining room for their little luncheons, the rank and file eat in hallways.
Many workers have no appetite, anyway. They're sickened by all the mold, leaks and terrible smells that accompanied the courthouse expansion. In the meantime, a disinterested county council very nearly gave itself a nice little payraise even though some county employees in the residual unit now rely on food stamps.
On Monday, I told you the county's residual unit of about 250 employees has begun circulating a letter to County Exec John Stoffa demanding voluntary binding arbitration of its contractual negotiations. Some blame Stoffa for the delay while others blame union leaders.
Courthouse workers also plan to rally outside the courthouse on Thursday at 4:30 P.M. to demand a fair contract. Council members on their way to their bi-weekly meeting will have to pass through a gauntlet of unhappy workers, who intend to address council.
But will there be a meeting? Some council members privately state they will not pass through a union picket line in a gesture of solidarity. Gee, that's nice, but they would do far more good by being honest. Some tell administrators to pay less, yet encourage union leaders to hold out for more. It's little wonder there's no contract.
Voluntary binding arbitration? How long will that take? Another county union for deputy sheriffs has asked for arbitration and they won't get one until April.
If council stops sending mixed signals and permits the union and adminstrators to take an honest stab at round-the-clock negotiations, they just might avoid arbitration and resolve this contractual dispute in time for some to have a Merry Christmas.