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In Montgomery budget fallout, AFL-CIO cancels interviews

Initial budget votes in Montgomery County have divided public employee unions and shaken up the political calculus facing incumbents running for reelection this fall.

Council members on Tuesday unanimously signaled their intent to break union contracts by freezing pay and ending retirement benefits known as "phantom" cost of living increases. They also called for extending furloughs to all county agencies, which puts pressure on the powerful public schools, which have rejected them.

By Wednesday, Washington's AFL-CIO chief had canceled endorsement interviews scheduled Thursday for Montgomery candidates.

There are divisions between key members of the AFL-CIO's Metro Washington Council over Montgomery's potential furloughs, making it tougher for the umbrella group to determine who deserves an endorsement.

Here's the email from Metro Washington Council President Joslyn N. Williams:

endorsements.jpg

If the forced, unpaid days off are inevitable, some in the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization have pushed for the furloughs to be extended countywide. That could mean fewer days and a smaller pay cut. The Service Employees International Union Local 500, which represents many school employees, wants to keep the furloughs away from its members, as County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed in his budget.

At issue is whether incumbents who have a history of union-friendly votes will now be shunned by some in the local labor movement. Just how threatened are the political alliances between public employee unions and current officeholders?

By Michael Laris  |  May 5, 2010; 11:06 PM ET
Categories:  Michael Laris  | Tags: AFL-CIO, Labor, Service Employees International Union, Trade union  
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Comments

The unions should go on strike ASAP. If the article is accurate, freezing pay is a ridiculous proposal.

The county will not be able to compete with the private sector if pay increases are cancelled.

Posted by: Able_Dagger | May 6, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Are such cutbacks and freezes across the board - applied to all county employees from top to bottom, union and non union, professional and non professional levels - or just the unionized and non union workers while the political appointees still maintain their same pay and benefits?

Posted by: davidmswyahoocom | May 6, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

There are plenty of unemployed people in Moco who would gladly have ANY pay. So if the union workers want to strike, let them, they can easily be replaced. Moco workers are such cry babies, the state non union workers haven't had more than a one percent pay raise in at least the last eight or nine years, and most of them have been furloughed at least 10 days during the last two years. But at least they have their jobs.

Posted by: VikingRider | May 6, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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