AFSCME members will vote on deal to spare jobs

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will vote between November 19 and November 25 on the deal reached by Governor Chet Culver and the union's leadership:

The agreement includes five mandatory unpaid furlough days between now and June 30, which is expected to save about $22.7 million.

The state's contribution to employees' deferred compensation also will be temporarily suspended until June 30, for a savings of $3.7 million.

The total savings of $26.4 million is expected to save 479 AFSCME jobs. Culver sought concessions from the union in order to avoid the layoffs of state workers, especially state troopers and correctional officers working in state prisons.

Under the terms of the agreement, no member of the union who is an executive branch employee can be laid off until June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Employees outside the bargaining units who are laid off will not be allowed to displace AFSCME employees.

The Des Moines Register has a few more details on the vote:

WHAT: A "memorandum of understanding" would require about 20,000 state workers to take five unpaid days off over the next seven months and sacrifice about $75 a month in state contributions to their deferred compensation, which is a supplemental retirement plan.

WHO CAN VOTE: Only active state workers who are currently paying dues to AFSCME will be eligible to cast a ballot.

WHEN: Voting will begin Nov. 19 and end Nov. 25.

WHERE: AFSCME will set up about 30 polling places across the state, such as at the Iowa Veterans Home and state prisons, for 12-hour periods.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. If I were in the union, I would vote yes. Losing some retirement contributions and a week's salary will cause some hardship, but many private-sector workers have also seen their wages drop during this recession. Minimizing layoffs should be the top priority.

Does anyone think the AFSCME members might vote down this agreement?

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