Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Labor deal makes sense(editorial by MJS)

Hmm- I actually agree with this MJS editorial.

Editorial: Labor deal makes sense

The last-minute deal struck by Milwaukee County and its largest employee union shows once again that the often-criticized collective bargaining process for public workers can work, even when both sides seem to have dug in their heels and the clock is about to strike 12. Once again, the public stands to gain.

As the editorial clearly points out, this issue did not move forward until County executive Scott Walker started the process of laying off county employees-

Differences over health care for county employees represented by AFSCME had been the chief stumbling block of the stalled negotiations. But the focus later changed when Walker, citing the county's legitimate financial problems, initiated efforts to lay off more than 100 county employees, many of them courthouse complex maintenance workers and parks laborers, by the end of 2006 and hire private contractors to take over some of those jobs.

What the editorial did not point out is that it is impossible to strike a deal when both sides are not at the table.

For over two years, the county board has been providing cover for the union and not forced them to the bargaining table. Instead county workers have been working without a contract for over two years.

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