Monday, August 20, 2012
What's Right and Wrong About Gracedale's New AFSCME Contract
Most Council members and Executive John Stoffa sounded encouraged. Ken Kraft, a union rep, called it a "win win." He even stated that he would have recommended against the contract if he were the one negotiating on behalf of the union. Peg Ferraro added that the union contract "proves that they [AFSCME] put their money where their mouth is."
Former Council member Ron Angle, however, calls it "comical" and "all but valueless." He noted that, the County taxpayers are still spending $4.2 million to keep Gracedale afloat this year.
So is it a good deal or not?
Here's what's right with it.
1. Overtime is reduced from 2 1/2 times the regular pay to double time.
2. There is no pay increase this year.
3. No more paid lunch breaks.
4. Sick days have been reduced.
Here's what's wrong with it.
1. There will be 3% wage hikes in years 2, 3 and 4 of the contract.
2. Despite the recommendations of its privately retained manager, the County has agreed that it will make no attempt to privatize laundry, maintenance and the cafeteria.
3. There's a successor clause, which will force any buyer of the nursing home to honor the contract.
I've never seen givebacks of this magnitude in a union contract with the County. Although it by no means eliminates the County contribution, it does demonstrate a willingness to cut costs. For that reason, I believe Council made the right call.