The public employee union of San Joaquin County says county leaders are disrespecting them by proposing prudent austerity measures during the worst recession in decades.
SEIU Local 1021 members in San Joaquin County object that the county has proposed to (quoting their press release):
- Take away all floating holidays.
- Double employee contribution for employee-only Kaiser healthcare plan.
- Increase retirement contribution to 50 percent of employee contribution rate.
- Eliminate daily overtime after eight hours
- Eliminate employees’ right to strike.
- Eliminate joint healthcare committee.
- Eliminate healthcare stipend for lowest paid employees.
- No more equity surveys.
And, oh yes, the haven’t got a raise in two years. Many in the private sector haven’t have a raise since 2008.
Equity surveys are a recipe for perpetual raises. COLAs are perpetual raises. Only in the public sector could asking employees to contribute to their health care and pensions be considered unfair. Private sector workers have been doing it for years. And the union is not glad county fiscal prudence allowed them to get raises through several years of the recession.
”The county … made its lack of respect for county employees perfectly clear,” Patrick Ikeda, president of the local 1021 said in this press release.
I’ll go this far with them: eliminating the right to strike is a deal-breaker. A union without the right to strike is no union. Nor am I rooting for the union to get skinned. Members have families to feed. I’ll even stipulate that county leaders set a bad example with their perpetual self-enrichment (I believe they cut 25 percent off their lucrative cafeteria plan for one year; big deal).
As for the rest of it, the recession is not over. Adjust expectations accordingly.