LCDJFS union sees big picture

Published 12:04 am Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services has sent a clear message: We’re going to work together to bail water rather than sit idly by while the entire ship sinks.

The management and union employees at the LCDJFS agreed to make almost $300,000 in concessions to their contracts and benefit packages with the hopes of preventing more layoffs at an agency that recently cut six of its 10 caseworker positions from children’s services.

We applaud director Gene Myers, the union members and the management staff that agreed to these changes. This is exactly the type of leadership that we need to see from all our officeholders and elected officials.

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These men and women have set a tremendous example and showed that, although they are acting out of self-preservation, they understand the challenges facing the county government.

The employees will forfeit pay for seven holidays, agreed to forfeit a 3 percent pay increase and also okayed the suspension of a sick leave incentive program.

The group also agreed that it would not seek reinstatement of these concessions until the employees who have been laid off have been put back to work. Nearly all of the union’s 74 members voted on this measure and the split of 53-13 shows overwhelming support for this measure.

Many people are quick to blame the financial troubles of the automotive manufacturers and other industries on the unwillingness of unions to compromise.

The men and women of AFSCME Local 3319 have shown that they can see the big picture and are ready to do their part to keep the ship sailing.