For the past two years, I have gone without a contract at work. I, like millions of other American’s, have tightened my belt due to stagnant pay, limited benefits and increased work hours.
This year I take: a pay cut, an increase in health care for less options and another increase in work. It turns out that Cook County, my employer, says that they have a budget gap of 25-35 million dollars. So they’re giving me furlough days.
I’m not complaining about the Furlough days. They are a fact of life given today’s economy and the utter mismanagement done by the County Board. What I am concerned about are my own Collective Bargaining Rights.
See, the County wants to lay off 10% of the work force. This work force provides direct services to community in terms of direct therapeutic contact OR supervision of delinquents in the community. The County could have made ends meet–they can find the money for programs like Cease Fire–but they need to send a message to our Union. That message is pretty clear:
Your Service Doesn’t Matter.
It’s no where near blatant as the attack in Wisconsin, but make no mistake, this is an collective bargaining in Chicago. President Preckwinkle has not attempted to negotiate our contract. All she wants is an overall work force reduction of 10%.