Dane County has reached a tentative agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local union concerning employee contracts for 2010.
AFSCME represents a majority of Dane County employees, totaling 1,500 of the 2,200 currently employed.
According to a statement from the office of Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, the contract will bring 3 percent salary cuts, a “no layoff pledge” and an eight day furloughs for over 1,500 county employees.
Chief negotiator for AFSCME Larry Rodenstein said they are recommending adoption based on the totality of the agreement, which is 16 pages in length.
Rodenstein — while refraining from discussing the details of the agreement as it still needs to be ratified by the union — stressed the wage cuts are temporary.
The 3 percent cut for 2010 comes after a 5 percent wage cut that county employees have already accepted for the remainder of 2009. The wage cut is temporary and will return to normal pay rates after the year is done.
Four of the eight furlough days will include Feb. 26, April 2, Sept. 17, and Oct. 22. During these days most county services — with the exception of certain 24-hour services — will be shut down.
“I am most grateful and appreciative for the top-notch service our dedicated team of county workers provide every day for our half-million citizens and their once again answering the difficult call to share the sacrifice forced upon all of us by this recession,” Falk said in a statement. “Whether it’s keeping our highways clear during white-out snowstorms, getting kids out of dangerous living environments, or helping someone save the life of a loved one, our county employees roll-up their sleeves and selflessly serve citizens every day.”
Rodenstein said the discussions with Dane County on the agreement began in late August, after a meeting the county set informing them of the “very severe revenue shortfall.”
Falk attributed the pay cut to the current recession, which has resulted in a loss of economic revenue, such as sales tax.
However, blaming the budget crisis on the loss of revenue such as sale tax is not universally accepted.
Jim Brigham, president of the Dane County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said at a recent public hearing of the 2010 Dane County budget the economy did not create the budget problem — it revealed it.
“It was bound to happen,” Brigham said. “You can’t keep exceeding your revenue continuously without it catching up with you.”
The unions have Nov. 4 scheduled for a ratification vote on the tentative contract agreement, requiring a majority vote in the sessions. The agreement is part of a $4.7 million personnel savings plan proposed by the county executive.
The agreement must also be approved by the Dane County Board before it goes into effect.