Stop! Don't Ratify That Contract!

Scott's picture

Even after all this time, there are people dissatisfied with the DAS contract that has been negotiated. I'll admit that I'm one of them! Let's look at some of the reasons being given:

  • Any furlough days are unacceptable.
  • No COLAs.
  • Only 1 step increase.
  • We can't take the furlough days any time we want.
  • Federally funded positions won't save the State any money, so they shouldn't have to take any furlough days.
  • We should strike and show the Governor how much the state needs us.
  • The day after Thanksgiving is a furlough day.

Wow! Those certainly aren't my reasons. Why not?

Any furlough days are unacceptable

Unfortunately, we're way past that point. Even at its best, the Legislature said we needed to make up $65 Million. That has to come from somewhere.  And furlough days are, in the DAS contract, a one-time occurrence, making them preferable to step freezes.

And what about other states? Ohio is taking 10 days each year for 2 years, but none in the 3rd. California is currently taking 3 days per month. Maine has 10 per year. And Hawaii's fighting in the courts over 36 furlough days.  Taking 10, 12, or 14 days over the biennium doesn't sound so bad now, does it?


Let's get real. COLAs are always the first thing to go. We have cuts. COLAs are gone. Deal with it.

Only 1 step increase

The Governor wanted no step increases. And while I would prefer 2 steps and some more furlough, at least we're getting something. And the 10th step still came through so everyone will be able to see some sort of increase. I'm still scratching my head over how the State let that one slip through.

We can't take the furlough days any time we want

Office closures actually save additional money. Plus, by having mandatory days (for most people), it helps protect against the OUS stance of, "you'll take them whenever we tell you; but only up to 14 in a row." And maybe, if you ask me real nice, I'll share my super-pimped-out-furlough-day-schedule. Maximize your time off, even if you aren't getting paid.

Federally funded positions won't save the State any money, so they shouldn't have to take any furlough days

Well now, aren't we all special. Maybe next time the State will come up with a better proposal for how furloughs should work. Since they didn't, I have to go with everyone sharing the burden. The Union built its campaign on that. Yes it will cost us some federal funds. But I'm willing to bet that if those funds go away, or are reduced, somewhere down the line, all of those federally-funded folks will be expecting to keep their jobs and get funded out of the state pool. I'm all for bringing everyone up to the same level, rather than dragging people down. However the level seems pretty high right now. Giving the few even more feels elitist to me, especially when we have OUS and the Care Providers struggling to get even a reasonable contract.

We should strike and show the Governor how much the state needs us

This late in the game, that's exactly what the Governor is hoping for. More days that he doesn't have to pay us. And we'll still end up with furlough days when we come back. And no, the strike days won't count.

The day after Thanksgiving is a furlough day

This one is all based on the premise that Christmas is in December. Taking this day off will make the December 1st paycheck less. And that will make for a lousy Christmas. While this is being portrayed as a big concern with the "lower payed" employees, I can honestly say that I only hear 1 person continually talking this up. Somehow I think the other people who are so concerned over this have been given the individual's propoganda. Face it people, we are going to make less money! Budget for it. Cut back. You have to anyways. For that matter, let's all remember what Christmas was originally about. I don't remember spending large amounts of cash on merchandise as being a requirement.


So, what is my reason for being dissatisfied? For that you only need to set the Way Back Machine to February 2009. Click the link. I'll wait.

You're back? Great. And what does that mean? It means that, along with our rejoicing over the DAS tentative agreement, there's the revisionist history being created over the last 8 months of bargaining.

I'm going to vote yes to ratify the agreement. I don't have to like it. I just hate the alternative even more.


"An intractable problem can only be resolved by stepping beyond conventional solutions." — Ozymandias