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MoCo's Trachtenberg to Unions: Layoffs or Lower Raises?

With Montgomery County's elected officials running short on time to make tough decisions about raising taxes and trimming services, County Council member Duchy Trachtenberg is reaching out to union leaders to ask them to do their part to help close a $297 million budget shortfall.

In a letter to union leaders today, Trachtenberg essentially asks them to pick their poison. Would members prefer layoffs or a reduction in the raises negotiated as part of labor agreements?

"In an abundance of caution, I want to begin a conversation about all available options that might come forward to avoid force reductions as we face the budget deficit," she writes in a letter to Gino Renne, president of the county's Municipal and County Government Employees Organization.

Trachtenberg also asks if union members would consider a voluntary layoff program that she says would "protect their seniority and health insurance while they drew unemployment for six months?" Trachtenberg suggests that this could be used "as a way to bridge a member to retirement."

No word yet from union leaders.

By Ann Marimow  |  April 29, 2008; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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