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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Arbitrator: Brown's Healthcare Reductions Violate AFSCME Contract

Last year, when Northampton County executive John Brown unilaterally imposed draconian reductions in the health care coverage offered to County workers, he exempted the corrections officers and registered nurses. Their union contracts required him to negotiate these reductions. He felt he had no such obligation for AFSCME workers at Gracedale, where the union contract is more ambiguous. But according to an arbitration ruling that was handed down last week, Brown needed to get union approval before making these reductions.

About a year ago, a grievance was filed on behalf of AFSCME Local 1435 over these healthcare reductions, which impact about 650 Gracedale employees. This went to arbitration in July. Although I have not seen the ruling, I have been informed by several sources that the County must honor the current contract and repay or make whole all AFSCME Gracedale workers.

In the meantime, Gracedale workers are still being forced to pay out the ass for healthcare. If Brown decides to abide by this ruling, some officials predict it could cost the County as much as $2.5 million.

Brown could appeal this decision, too. "At the moment the Administration is reviewing its options and has no further comment," said Director of Administration Luis Campos, in a statement released late today.

Updated 5:07 pm

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

God Bless John Brown, a true Conservative.

Todd Rapp said...

Cry baby government union so-called workers must learn that health care is not a right. Sell the white elephant Gracemess and eliminate the problem.

Anonymous said...

John A Brown = Worst county executive in history
*By Far

Anonymous said...

So does that mean only Gracedale gets their healthcare restored to previous or ALL County employees?

Anonymous said...

and the hypocrisy on this blog is choking.....how long ago were the Gracedale unions and healthcare costs being bashed daily?

Leon Woods said...

650 employees? Outrageous!! Shut the place down and return all of that money to the taxpayers

Bernie O'Hare said...

Leon Woods is a fake name used by a person afraid to ID himself or herself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"and the hypocrisy on this blog is choking.....how long ago were the Gracedale unions and healthcare costs being bashed daily?"

I supported Gracedale's sale, but even more, I support democracy. The people have spoken, and i support doing everything that canbe done to make sure Gracedale breaks even. That is not hypocrisy by a long shot. Also, after the referendum, I visited Gracedale twice and had an eye-opening experience. the employees there really do care about the residents and treat them like family. Finally, the unions gave up $2.5 million per year in benefits. I would support a move to a county-controlled nonprofit, but not privatization.

Anonymous said...

What about the non union workers at NorCo that have been getting raped with the healthcare costs?

I'll tell you this more talent is being lost on a monthly basis at NorCo and soon there will be dire consequences.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Todd Rapp is also a fake name. I believe an arbitrator has just ruled that healthcare is part of the union contract and needed to be negotiated. This is a legal question, and once again, the Solicitor should have told Brown that in cases that are unclear, it is better to sit down and bargain than go through a costly arbitration that could cost the county $2.5 million.

Way to go, Vic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"What about the non union workers at NorCo that have been getting raped with the healthcare costs?"

You are unprotected but there is an inherent unfairness involved here.

Anonymous said...

AS a former county employee who retired in 2012, I can say without blinking that we have no one to thank except Ron Angle and this blog owner for the bleeding artery known as Gracedale. Gracedale should have been sold in 2012, but because these two drama queens polarized the entire issue and caused personal animosity from floor to ceiling within the county ranks, we now have a home that is (then ) and now bleeding the county and the taxpayers dry.

If handled professionally minus the constant personal attacks, blog insults, outrageous lies, half truths and agenda spinning, there never would have been a 23,000 signature campaign. BUt there was, because its Ronny Boys' stock in trade to garner as much attention for himself as possible, no matter how negative...and his water boy does just that. keep the buckets flowing.

Ron Angle and his water boy are consistently an expensive drain and a danger to all taxpayers in Norco. Because of their mess, ever single county employee takes a a hit in every paycheck, every month, and that will continue. Thanks losers!

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above common is obviously not from a county employee but is obviously from someone who has a personal agenda. Someone is trying to deflect attention away from the brown blunder.

Anonymous said...

It has been awhile since we have had the opportunity to comment on a Brown blunder. This is another shortsighted move that will cost the county far more than it intended to save. Brown the Clown is a one term wonder who will be remembered as the county's worst executive.

Anonymous said...

@11:12,
Yeah....right. I guess it's also Angle's fault that when the groundhog sees his shadow, it's 6 more weeks of winter. Go get medicated.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet VICTOR SCOMMILIO told John Brown that this was ok

But hey, lets vote for him for judge anyway, what could possibly go wrong?

Ken Kraft said...

I believe i said that this was a Negotiated Wage and is figured in the Cost of Contracting when we approve the deals with the Unions.
I believe that i have been proven right.
This is going to cost us every Penny of Hayden Phillips tax increase to pay off

Anonymous said...

just wondering, who represented the tax payers when this union deal or any public union deal is cut? who looks out for the tax payers?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Are you saying Brown does not represent the taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

Non union supervisors are making less money than the staff they oversee. Supervisors are stepping down to be row office staff to make more money for less responsibility. J Brown should be ashamed!!

Anonymous said...

Its rare that an attorney in such short amount of time demonstrated near total incompetence in county legal matters. This should be a fresh reminder that scomillio is thoroughly unqualified to serve as a judge. He has gone from costing County taxpayer's a triple A size bill of $300,000.00 to the major leagues, aiding and abetting a million plus mistake.
He should have spent more time reading the Home Rule Charter and less time trying to please his master, the Corporate wizard, Mr. Brown.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown has submitted a budget for the second year in a row that defunds three of the four Open Space programs completely. $0 for Farmland Preservation, $0 for county parks, $0 for natural and sensitive areas. We taxpayers began paying a levy of 0.5 mill in 2008, or about $3.7M, annually, to use for Open Space. The only executive to loot the kitty and use our tax dollars for purposes unknown, is John Brown. He left $1m in municipal parks, only because the law says he has to. What is he doing with the other $2.7M? Pocket change for miscellaneous expenses? Is he going to roll back our taxes, or continue to rob Peter to pay Paul? Last year, council had to make up for his pilfering by taking $$$ from table games, instead of Brown fixing his own foolish error. Who will fix it this year, and how?

Anonymous said...

People should read the contracts. They are certainly subject to Right to Know. This is the only one not expired (yet) and permitted for Cathy Allen with no union or HR experience to try and negotiate (before it ends up in arbitration). Benefits are a mandatory subject of bargaining. However, unlike other contracts, this one did not have a "me too" clause that permitted an arbitrary change in benefits if it occurred for Career Service employees. This one had a clause that required a meet and discuss with the union and it appears (at least based on the information here) that this did not occur since the arbitrator awarded in favor of the union. Wasn't the county supposed to get a new Director for HR so the person with no experience who appears to be in charge of this no longer needed to be involved? What happened there? Even still, there is a Deputy Director of HR. Why would she not be filling in advising on these items? If she is not qualified as the Deputy, why is she even in this position? Why isn't council pushing to get someone in charge of this important function? A qualified HR Director could have saved the county this large sum having to be paid back and followed the contract properly and come to some sort of agreement with the union at least saving some money as they head into negotiations for the end of this year...

Anonymous said...

HR had then Solicitor scomillio to assist the Director. It's a shame he spent more time thinking how the appointment would help his judicial aspiration and less time reviewing as he promised labor contracts with the help of his new inexperienced staff.

Anonymous said...

3:08 Go back to sleep and take your drug cocktail again. Brownstain is a NUT and his sidekick Allen is as well. Conservatives do not want to be associated with him or his Judge candidate Scomilio, who he is campaigning for because they do not like idiots. Remember the $20,000,000 he and Scomillio wanted to use to balance his budget? Get real with the conservative bullshit. Most Republicans think these two arrogant idiots should be tossed from their party.