Florida County Manager Praises Unions
March 22, 2010
In a troubled national economy, municipalities are often faced with difficult choices as tax revenues drop, making balancing budgets more difficult.
Across the nation, these pressures have led to antagonistic negotiations between managers and public sector unions. In many cases, public workers have been made scapegoats for problems that they did not create.
But in Miami-Dade County, Fla., eight out of 10 unions representing public workers have reached accommodations with the county that reduce spending without overburdening bargaining unit members with extreme wage or benefit cuts.
In a Feb. 16 Miami-Herald editorial, George M. Burgess, Miami-Dade county manager, praises the unions. He says:
Brian Rappaport, treasurer of Miami Local 349, a journeyman inside wireman, is one of many card-carrying IBEW members who work for Miami-Dade County. Rappaport, who was a member
of AFSCME and OPEIU before being reclassified as a manager in the water and sewer department, credits both sides with working together to avoid layoffs.
Wage reductions have been cushioned by a county agreement to put an amount equivalent to the labor cost savings toward employee medical benefits. And wage increases for bargaining unit members are provided in future years.
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from allaboutgeorge