Something’s got to give.
We are seeing sacrifices taking place all around us — from school teachers agreeing to pay freezes, to town employees picking up more of their health insurance to private sector workers taking unpaid furloughs and pay reductions. People are doing more with less to avoid more people in the unemployment line, including themselves.
It is time the local CSEA and its members stepped to the plate and did the same, just as the unionized workers at Plattsburgh City Library did last week.
To save four positions on the chopping block, the 15 union library employees voted unanimously to a host of concessions that included a four-year pay freeze; a reduction in hours from 37 to 35; a 15 percent contribution toward health insurance and a 50 percent cut in sick days.
Similarly, CSEA-represented state workers have agreed to no salary increases during the next three years, and modest 2 percent increases in the final two years of a five-year contract.
Can you see the local chapter laying anything close to that on the table this January? They have lobbied in favor of giving paid days off to employees on their birthdays. What is that all about?
It is that type of thinking and the reluctance of our elected officials to put an end to it that has created such a divide and has driven taxes to historic levels.
As a country, we simply cannot afford the benefits and luxuries we once did in either the public or private sector, and it is time unions face that very real fact.
In a reader’s poll posted on our website, www.denpubs.com, 75 percent of those who responded — no doubt some of the very people they represent — said the CSEA should have conceded on the 2012 pay raise to save the county layoffs.
Another 20 percent said the union should be disbanded altogether.
With that in mind, we have just one thing to say to county lawmakers as they engage in contract negotiations later this month: The ball is in your court.
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