Monday, November 30, 2009

AFSCME Members Vote Yes

AFSCME members decided to give up some pay and benefits, so co-workers could save their jobs. Council 61 President Danny Homan announced the vote today. Members voted 59-41% on a agreement which takes away five days of pay and the state contribution toward their retirement through the end of June (about $75 per month). In exchange, 479 people won't get laid off as a result of Governor Chet Culver's 10% across-the-board budget cuts for state agencies.

Members finished voting last Wednesday, but Homan said he had independent counters re-tally the numbers to make sure they were accurate. That's why he waited to announce the results today, he said. He didn't say if they found any irregularities. But he said about 2/3 of the membership voted. Today he also wouldn't say how many members there are or how many voted. However, at his last news conference earlier this month, he said there were about 9,000 members (there are about 22,000 eligible state employees for AFSCME membership). So by my math, that's about 6,000 or so who voted.

Homan made several suggestions to save money next year:

Let eligible employees retire early with incentives like helping with insurance costs until they're eligible for Medicare or offer cash payments.
Raise taxes/end certain tax credits.
Lower the rate of supervisors per state employees.
Governor Chet Culver's office just announced this morning at about 10:15 he will have a news conference to respond to the vote. By the way, his office also just announced he will be attending the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony at the State Capitol at 5pm. It also kicks off the state employees' annual Toys for Tots drive. I presume state workers, their families and Santa already knew about the event before this announcement.

Here's the full press conference with Homan from today:

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