The bargaining teams did not meet this week (Wed Sep 17th) because the county is sticking to their proposal that would allow them to move our health care over to one of the state-wide insurance pools (either PEBB or OEBB). We do not agree.
We are not willing to change our demand that there be a 1% premium added to the usual cost of living adjustment (COLA). They do not agree.
We will deliver the green petition cards and member letters to Chair Kafoury on Tuesday 9/23. This will demonstrate that Local 88 members support the additional COLA, but do not expect that this alone will be enough to convince the county to agree to it. We will need to continue our efforts through a variety of actions, and success will depend on your participation.
Management must understand this is an issue of fairness, of doing what is right. When the national recession hit, the county was faced with the reality that critical public services would have to be severely reduced, and in some cases cut altogether. But Local 88 stepped up in 2009 with a COLA freeze and step freeze to balance the county budget. As the recession persisted, Local 88 agreed to forego another COLA in 2012. The reduced payroll costs meant millions in savings, so programs and services were saved.
Now Multnomah County’s finances have stabilized and the structural deficit has been closed. The county is moving ahead, but is leaving the employees behind. We’ve asked that they return us a fraction of what we gave, and we are told “No.” They have made no attempts to explore options, no offers of a compromise. Just “No.”
Members gave when the county’s citizens needed us to continue providing services. Now it’s management’s turn to recognize our sacrifice.