Monday, August 20, 2012

What's Right and Wrong About Gracedale's New AFSCME Contract

On Thursday night, Northampton County Council approved, by an 8-1 vote, a new, four-year contract with AFSCME at Gracedale. That's the union representing the lion' share of employees who work at the County's nursing home. Barb Theirry is the sole Council member who voted No.

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.

22 comments:

Bill Coker said...

What ever happened to time and a half for overtime? Am I that much of an old fart to remember what I worked for as an union member?

That's a huge give back?

The realality is the place will be sold at some point in the near future. The union did a tremendous marketing job during the election with their "Save Gracedale" campaign, giving the impression it would be closed. But the costs can't be maintained by the county without huge tax increases.

That's why the majority of county homes have been privatized.

Bill Coker said...

That's reality.

Anonymous said...

Bill, wihtout Callahan in power the Home willnot be sold. Once again you are talking out of your ass.

75% of the voters want the county to keep Gracedlae. I guess they are all wrong and you are right.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I see McMud McClure's goons are hard at work, sliming up Callahan. A few weeks ago, it was Panto.

Anonymous said...

God Bless the unions. This could only happen without the corrosive influence of Ron Angle.

Mark Baker said...

union pukes are at it again. OT should be 1&1/2 times not 2&1/2.So they gave up 1/2. That's not much of a concession when you r already milking the system.

Union negotiators should not be allowed to be on council. the stench must be unbearable

Callahan will straighten all of this out.

Anonymous said...



Taking it to the Streets, Put them on the Streets!

Anonymous said...

When you are old and grey and need a place to stay. A friendly staff memeber at your super duper Walmart nursing home will ask how much you have and when you say you are poor and sick, old and grey, they will tell you to just go away.

The tresabagger version of a civilized society.

Anonymous said...

Old people get below average care because union job featherbedding trumps patient care. This is Fleabagger Amerika.

Anonymous said...

Am I to understand correctly, that this union gets step increases and COLA of 3%. The rest of the county workers have not had COLA since 1994.

Anonymous said...

Mark and anonymous 3:16
for you info, overtime is only 1 1/12 times, they were talking about working on holidays! If you don't think they deserve 2x wages on holidays.. when was the last time you worked on christmas? It isn't fun working all holidays in the first place....
there is no cola, it is an 3% increase. however there is also an increase in contribution to their health care!

Those employees gave up a huge amount of money. By the way they are the lowest paid employees of the county! Some even get free school lunches... If you didn't know-- they have to pay the same amount for gasoline, milk ,bread as you do!! When is management going to give something back!!!!

Anonymous said...

Annon 3:16. While John Stoffa was screaming about union problems, he gave the PSSU union a COLA increase plus their steps. In some cases that totaled over 9% a year for some employees.

If you look for logic or rational continuity in this Adminstration, you came to the wrong place.

Anonymous said...

Upper Nazareth should impose a commuter tax and take a cut of the stack. They should at least tax Eastonians who work there.

Mark Baker said...

Anon COWARD 4:06,

Now the ET and Bo said that the 2&1/2 was OT. why would I dispute the two esteemed publications?

Now if that is indeed wrong I, BO and the ET owe the worthless union pukes who pretend to care about old farts while picking the public's pocket in the name of their phony humanitarianism an apology.

But if I were you I wouldn't hold your breath on it. But then you holding your breath on it might be a good thing for all concerned.

Anonymous said...

Marl Baker, when has O'Hare and the Easton Excess ever been right?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, overtime is not 2 and 1/2 its 1 and 1/2 if you work over over 80 hours now and is going to straight time from 75 hours till you reach 80 hours. it has never been 2 1/2 times not sure were the paper got that one. so if you come in extra on a sat off you get straight time for 5 hours and time and a half for the other 2 and 1/2 hours. saving the county 5 hours of overtime pay.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I just rec'd a copy of the contract highlights. Double time and a half has been paid for employees who work holidays. The reference was to that, and I assumed it meant all overtime. I will post the highlights to clear this up.

Anonymous said...



You must be thinking of our State Representatives Salaries.

They Work 30 Days a year!

Anonymous said...

Yo idiots.....If I get paid a holiday for not coming to work it is eight hours for staying home and enjoying the holiday with my my family. If I come to work on a holiday I get paid the holiday because I would have gotten that pay anyway had I stayed home plus I get paid for the eight hours I work. The bonus is the 1/2 days pay for sacrificing my holiday with my family and coming to work. Most of the readers of this blog work for dictators who don't care about your families and only care about lining their own pockets. You are forced to work for these luatics because you don't have the intelligence or the ability to get a job somewhere else and now you vent because you are stuck in a dead end job. Jealously is your only reason for venting. I laugh at you sore asses who don't have the ability to get out of your sorry ass jobs but vent at everyone else who has more than you do. Well, eat your heart out idiots. Stay where you are an suffer. You brought it on yourself. Ha ha hee hee ho ho.Off to the bank I go

Anonymous said...

anonymous 9:42
I am very offended by your response, our jobs at Gracedale are NOT loser jobs.. many are educated people! I hope you get old and need help someday.. when you can't hold your urine or feces! See who takes care of you! ps: we have some very young residents there too.. you don't have to be old to go to Gracedale.. you are only 1 minute from needing total care: car accicdent, stroke, heart attack! you name it, it could happen to you! So maybe you should think before you speak your dumb ass remarks!!!
signed: Gracedale Union Employee!! name reserved to protect the innocent!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:37...If you read what anonymous 9:42 said, you would see that the person who wrote it is sticking up for Gracedale people. You must be the idiot. He referred to loser jobs as the jobs the other people had who were complaining about us at Gracedale. You must be a loser too ididot.

Anonymous said...

They're encouraged because they're so used to seeing the Union's excesses that to them it's a huge step forward. To people working in the private sector, it's still shocking that they are so privileged.