I was going to write about worker transition committees and how they help laid-off employees, but I’m going to wait until next week. Instead, I want to talk about the aftermath of the 2011 election.
Our readers in Ohio have just endured a divisive election campaign over Issue 2, the effort to virtually eliminate public employee collective bargaining. Like many elections, rhetoric superseded reason and real issues, and the only quest was victory.
In the days since the election the verbal war has continued. The media reminds us that our municipalities face budget deficits while blaming public employees instead of looking at the real causes of the problem. They prefer simple answers from partisan causes, rather than considering the more complex issues.
The governor reminded us on election night there was no more money for our municipalities. He is correct; the money that was taken from them in his budget has been allocated to other interests. The result is clear, public employers face economic problems.
Finding solutions to these complex problems will not be easy, but placing the blame on public employees is not the answer.
CALMC supports a different means of finding ways to save money – teamwork. Given the opportunity, employees and managers can find ways to improve efficiency, reduce spending, and provide good service to citizens. The expertise they each bring to the table can be used to find creative answers.
We encourage public employers and employees to work together to address these issues. CALMC has worked with many public employers who have committed to working with their employees and unions. We have found employees willing to openly look at cost savings opportunities and realistic about their need. The results have been significant savings.
When you hear public officials or employees talk about the looming budget cuts, ask them if they have tried working together to find solutions? If not, they have missed an opportunity. It’s a much better alternative than continuing to point fingers.