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Questionable union ‘vote’

The president of the AFCSME local representing Ironton city employees says members voted unanimously to keep the 2 percent pay increase that went into effect Thursday, Feb.

Saturday, February 03, 2001

The president of the AFCSME local representing Ironton city employees says members voted unanimously to keep the 2 percent pay increase that went into effect Thursday, Feb. 1.

The president says the actual "vote" took place at a meeting held a week before the Feb. 1 meeting. The "vote" was affirmed at the Feb. 1 meeting, he says.

The vice president and other members of the local, however, say no vote was taken – and certainly not at the Feb. 1 meeting.

Several members of the local also say they were not notified of the Feb. 1 meeting where the alleged "affirmation vote" was taken in violation of union rules that require 24 hours notice of a meeting.

Clearly, someone is misrepresenting the truth, and we believe it is union president Todd Davis.

We don’t believe members of the union voted, and we believe a majority of the members would vote to delay the raise if they are ever allowed to vote on the matter.

After all, the city is not asking anyone to give up something they already have. Union members are being asked to forego a planned raise, not one they were already receiving.

Thanks to the action of the union president, members are going to lose more than the 2 percent raise.

Layoffs are not planned, but Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary says he will cut back each employee’s hours to save money. And when that happens, AFCSME members will lose a lot more that the value of the raise their union president says they voted to accept.

We support the mayor’s decision.

Ironton must cut its expenses because it does not have the tax revenues it needs to fund the budget. The closing of the county hospital is only the latest blow to the city’s financial situation.

Had AFCSME agreed to forego its Feb. 1 raise, the other city unions and the non-union managers would have been willing to freeze salaries.

But AFCSME’s unwillingness to help the city weather this financial crunch will probably cause other employees to expect raises, too.

And the city cannot afford to increase its expenses, even to reward its loyal employees who are working harder after the layoffs implemented already.

Now is not the time for city employees to be asking for and taking raises. It is a time for employees to make sacrifices. It is time to share the pain.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, it is a time to ask what you can do for the city, not a time to ask what the city can do for you.

AFCSME members should demand an honest vote on accepting the 2 percent raise. And members should repudiate the sham vote reported by its president.