I’ve noticed over several years that at-will employees are reaping the benefits of union employee contract negotiations. There’s several examples of this over the past three or four years the first time I noticed this was when the police supervisor union and patrol officers union negotiated with the City. After the completed negotiations the chief of police submitted a letter to the council to have the same benefits given to him in both contracts. At the time I noticed this in the agenda packet I did call a council member who then called the chief who told this council member that this was a formality and he had nothing to gain from this. I told this council member I didn’t believe it and said so at the time I don’t know but I just had a bad feeling about it. The next day after the council meeting according to sources at City Hall the chief came and picked up a check based on the approval by the council that he be extended the same benefits under the police supervisors contract. Money he wouldn’t be entitled to without the approval of the council.
I called the council member I talked with they had heard and were very disappointed with what had happened. Now just to point out nothing illegal happened here this was all on the up and up done with the approval of the council. However the police supervisors union negotiated the contract not the chief of police many months and hours spent on these negotiations all it took for the chief to get the same benefits was a letter and approval from council.
Next case is AFSCME Union this union negotiated with the City recently to either cut a day short from their work week or to take a 10% pay cut. The union members decided on a shorter work week at the same time all department heads (at will employees) had a 10% pay cut. What’s happened however because city is closed one day a week many department heads do not come in on Fridays ‘the day City Hall is closed.’ The at will employees had 10% pay cut and to my understanding are to come into work on Fridays. The majority do not again gaining from what the union employees negotiated for.
The most recent case is DPW supervisor union negotiated with the City to my understanding this was a long negotiation several changes made, years given for free to reach retirement age you can read about it here. What happened next? The same offer passed on to department heads ‘at will employees’ they got the same 3 year give away all of the negotiated contract benefits given to them you can read about it DPW letter of understanding approved for department heads. Several department heads have taken advantage of the new offer and have retired but are still working for the City.
I’m not for or against unions I do understand the benefits in a union and I all so would like to point out that department heads are at-will employees many hired by the Mayor they do not belong to a union for that very reason. Yet they are given in some cases the same benefits as a union employee extended to them by the Mayor and approved for by the council. Many have toted the savings in doing this I’ve yet to see it. no saving in health care as was promised by the Mayor according to one council member health care has gone up. In time I hope the City will see benefits in all of this.