Will County, Illinois might not be a household word, but its county seat is Joliet, which was made famous by the Blues Brothers. The official county website says it’s one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, and offers “fantastic business opportunities and a remarkable environment to all who live, work and play here.”
Especially if you work here and belong to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 1028. The county recently offered a 14.5% raise to 1,200 county employees, who called it “paltry”, and went on strike. This was after AFSCME Local 1028 and the county spent 15 months of negotiations, including 5 months with a Federal mediator.these, when most people are happy to just keep their jobs, the union put on a full-blown victim act. According to the union’s website, “County workers went above and beyond at the bargaining table, just like we do in serving our community every day,” AFSCME Local 1028 president Dave Delrose said. “Management has refused to meet us halfway, demanding employees pay unaffordable costs for health insurance that would more than negate their paltry offer on pay.”
The website further says, “To help the county through tough times, employees represented by AFSCME agreed to forego a cost-of-living pay increase for the past four years.”
County Executive Larry Walsh says that’s just not true. On the county’s website, he pointed out they have gotten 2.5% wage step increases in each of the past four years.
So who’s telling the truth? Every year, the Social Security Administration calculates the cost of living and adjusts payments. Here are their increases for the last four years: 2010 — 0.0%, 2011 — 0.0%, 2012 — 3.6% 2013 — 1.7%. The union is right. They did not get cost-of-living increases. They got more than cost-of-living increases.
Is there any other possible reason for their feeling hosed? In fact, there is. The union was ready to pay a small percentage of their salary for healthcare. But they are not ready to risk paying even 10% of the cost of their actual insurance. They’re afraid that Obamacare will send their costs through the roof.
This is just the first of several ironies I’m happy to gloat over. Even though union members are typically Democrats, they’re terrified of the centerpiece of the Democrat Party. Additionally, if you look at the growing list of city and county bankruptcies across the country, the cause is almost always unsustainable benefits for public union members. In a vicious circle, these unions are major contributors to the campaigns of local Democrats, who tend to look very favorably on pro-union policies.
But aren’t unions a relic of the last century that are slowly fading out of existence? Yes and no. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only six percent of private sector workers belong to a union. 35% of all government workers are unionized.
As a famous old comic strip from the Forties used to say, “There Oughta Be A Law.”