The LuLac Edition #617, Oct. 28th, 2008
LAYOFFS? AN OPTION?
Sign me up. I’ve never been given a choice when I was laid off from work. It was just, “hit the highway man!” But the Times Leader reports today Luzerne County government’s largest union has three layoff options, members learned during a Monday night . The first is to have no layoffs through the end of the year and then pay the price with more severe long-term or permanent layoffs in 2009. The second: The entire 600-member union could switch to a 12-hour work week through the rest of the year. The third and final option would be layoffs based on seniority through the end of the year. Though layoffs would still be possible in 2009 under the second and third scenarios, the implication is that they would be minimized. Members of the union – American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, known as AFSCME – will be called to another meeting soon to vote on the options, said union head Paula Schnelly. Roughly 143 union members attended the meeting at Convention Hall. The county Board of Commissioners will ultimately decide which option is enacted, but union preference would weigh heavily on the decision, county Chief Clerk/Manager Doug Pape said after Monday’s meeting. On last night’s news, a county worker was interviewed and said that the workers making $20,000 a year actually carry the county workload while those the previous administration hired at $80,000 plus did essentially nothing. That’s hard to argue because in my experience in dealing with the county rank and file, I have found nothing but courtesy and competence. And it’s always the little guy, the person crafting the nuts and bolts of the place who gets screwed. But still, the county workers do have options, a luxury afforded few workers in this economy. And as for those $80,000 a year appointees, keep in mind it is the county rank and file who have for years provided the political base for the Makowskis and Skrepenaks to gain political power. These are the people who buy the fundraising tickets, work at the ;polls, cajole relatives and friends to vote for their bosses. Perhaps this wake up call on finances of the county will give county employees a little me perspective on the candidates they advocate for in the future.
ELECTION TOP 40
LONG TERM INVESTMENTS #4
But Obama said now was the time to commit to long-term investments in America's future and blasted McCain for wanting to continue President Bush's economic policies, saying "there is a clear choice in this election. Instead of reaching for new horizons, George Bush has put us in a hole, and John McCain's policies will keep us there. I want to take us in a new and better direction.
"I reject the belief that we should either shrink from the challenge of globalization or fall back on the same tired and failed approaches of the last eight years," he said. "It's time for new policies that create the jobs and opportunities of the future -- a competitiveness agenda built upon education and energy, innovation and infrastructure, fair trade and reform."
Spending on new roads, bridges and other public works projects would create jobs and provide more of a lasting boost to the economy. McCain contended a common concern about infrastructure spending — that it takes time to gear up and may not kick in until after the recession is over — is less compelling now because the U.S. economy likely will experience an extended downturn.