The total is an impressive $3.5 million. That’s the amount of savings Marion County has realized because county workers agreed to accept healthcare cuts and wage freezes in their 2010 contract. SEIU/MCEA members presented that large symbolic check to the commissioners at their meeting June 20, 2012, to make the point that they’ve already given enough.
Marion County workers currently face a $150-200 monthly pay cut in their ongoing contract negotiations since management representatives maintain that the county didn’t budget for the rising costs of health insurance nor for basic inflation. The county also wants to extend the wage freeze to four years, and management’s position on these economic issues has not changed after more than six months at the bargaining table.
Sue Smith, member of MCEA Local 294 and a 10-year employee of the Marion County Assessor’s office, told the commissioners that her family has to budget for increasing living expenses and that the county’s failure to budget for rising costs is not a good excuse.
“Just because you didn’t include the cost of health insurance for employees in your budget doesn’t mean that you don’t have a responsibility to honor the promise you made when the employees are hired,” Smith told the commissioners.
SEIU/MCEA members said they remained optimistic about reaching an agreement on a new contract as they headed into a mediation session that same afternoon.
To help these SEIU/MCEA members, you can email the Marion County Commissioners and encourage them to settle a fair contract. As Smith pointed out, “We didn’t budget for it,” is no excuse! Their email address are: