Suffolk County Cuts 315 Jobs & the Union Cuts Nothing

Cheryl Felice, Head of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees

The Democratic majority cut 315 county jobs despite being asked by the Republican minority for time to find alternative solutions. Originally, another 149 jobs were to be axed but Democratic Legislator Bellone reversed that decision since those jobs were funded by grants.

Suffolk faces a $530 million deficit through 2013. The cause according to Bellone is the drop in sales tax revenue and unsustainable pension costs. Suffolk County is at the point of not being able to make payrolls.

Republican minority leader, John M. Kennedy Jr. supported a bill to offer early retirement to save jobs through attrition and asked for two weeks to see if enough employees would be eligible to make this bill viable. His appeals were unsuccessful.

The Association of Municipal Employees leadership insists not enough was done while they did nothing. Bellone aides said that the union had not offered any specific job-saving concessions and one aide said the “door remains open.” That is one door the union leaders will apparently never walk through.

Cheryl Felice, the union head, wants property taxes raised, claiming homeowners won’t feel it since it will only amount to a few dollars a year. Contributing a few dollars to their benefits or giving up some little something THEY won’t feel is not on the table. The soaring costs of pensions are being ignored by the union.

I love the workers, but not a leadership that leads their employees astray with false platitudes and unethical decisions. They are letting their employees get fired and they don’t care if pension costs are unsustainable.

The union said they’ve given up enough. I’m sure taxpayers feel the same way about their property taxes.

I did a search of their benefits and if accurate, their benefits are a lot better than what most people have. There does seem to be a lot of leeway yet if they really wanted to save their colleagues’ jobs – check these benefits out for instance. and the tuition reimbursement fund.

The money saved by cutting 315 workers is, as one worker said, a drop in the bucket. However, I find it interesting that the union leadership, faced with the loss of 315 of their members, weren’t interested in making a single concession. That says it all for me.

The saddest thing in all this is that 315 people are now out of work and the union leadership takes no responsibility for that or for the unsustainable pension costs. The workers are the ones who suffer for the leadership’s dazzling rhetoric and inaction.