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25% of County Employees Receive Pay Raises

Three of Anne Arundel County's 13 unions will receive their first pay increases in more than four years.

About 25 percent of Anne Arundel County's employees will receive pay raises for the first time in four years thanks to a unanimous vote by the County Council on Monday.

The 3 percent pay increase—which will cost the county $650,000—goes to approximately 1,200 employees who are members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 70, AFSCME Local 582 and AFSCME Local 2563.

"The last four years, to say the least, have been extremely difficult," said Mike Akers, president of AFSCME Local 582.

Akers testified before Council that his members have accepted years without cost of living increases and a growing number of furlough days.

The vote itself was a formality because Maryland's Court of Appeals restored binding arbitration to the county in September—making the Council legally bound by the May decision of a third-party mediator to give the three unions a pay increase.

The Council tried to end binding arbitration in March 2011 by passing a bill that would have required the Council to approve all decisions made by third-party mediators.

Councilman John Grasso (R-2nd District) took a moment before the pro forma vote to point out the county's $500 million debt.

"Just understand that the money that you will get if this bill passes is borrowed money. It’s money on a charge card," Grasso said. "We are running off of our own little fiscal cliff."

The bill does save the county $200,000 per year by reducing FOP employees' weapons allowance from $780 to $425.

The remaining 75 percent of county employees—including firefighters and police who serve in management positions—will not see pay increases this year.

"[This bill] is not fair and equitable to all employees," said Justin Duncan, a county police fleet coordinator. "It will create a destructive division between those county employees given the 3 percent increase and those not given [an increase]."

He asked the Council to expand the raises to all county employees—including nearly 1,000 workers who are not members of any union.

The Council opted not amend the bill, but Council Chair Jerry Walker (R-7th District) believes all employees will likely see a pay increase next spring.

"It's certainly going to impact upcoming negotiations," Walker said. "Next year, I'm sure everybody will come to the table and say, 'the starting point is what you gave FOP mid-cycle.'"

Chris S. December 06, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Chris W - I think you are the one that missed the details regarding binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is only available to public safety unions. 582 does not have a right in code or negotiated to binding arbitration. By the way I am not a union member.
Chris W December 06, 2012 at 10:52 PM
"The vote itself was a formality because Maryland's Court of Appeals restored binding arbitration to the county in September—making the Council legally bound by the May decision of a third-party mediator to give the three unions a pay increase." I did not miss anything. Perhaps you should read the article before posting.
Chris S. December 06, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Perhaps you should use more than the article as a basis for your opinion. Public safety unions are the only unions in Anne Arundel County with binding arbitration available to them. Look up the contracts on the County website or you can let the Patch be your sole source of information.
Chris W December 07, 2012 at 12:50 AM
So your saying the article is incorrect? Please alert the editor. I'll wait for them to print a retraction. The editor is Tim Lemke.
Chris S. December 07, 2012 at 01:59 AM
What I am saying is that the voters of Anne Arundel County approved legislation that provided for an arbitrator to issue a binding decision in the event of an impasse between public safety unions and county management. Against the will of the public the county council and executive passed legislation that removed this option. The council's decision was reversed by the court. While this was happening other unions in the county negotiated "me too" clauses in their contracts. So when the 3% raise was restored to the police the "me too" clauses for the other unions kicked in.
Michael Crumbaker December 07, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Not 40%, but I am definitely down 30% from where my contract with the county said I would be today. In years one and two, I believed the "private sector" and "we just don't have the money" hype. This is year 5 and the same old line has grown thin. Anyone who was laid off has had time to start a new job, and jobs are so easy to find in this town that I have three of them. My private sector neighbors seem to be doing just fine. My private sector wife has received a small but consistent cost of living adjustment every year, and we've dropped the county health insurance in favor of hers. What would you do with an employee who became no more valuable to you after five years of experience? What do you call an investment that earns 3% in five years?
Hey Deb December 08, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I LOATHE Unions...nothing but thugs, but, as Maryland carried the big BO you will need an increase in pay, due to the INCREASE in taxes you will be paying...Maryland and NJ...top 2 States hardest hit with TAXES! Suckers!
Hey Deb December 08, 2012 at 05:12 PM
LOL The Unions AND the Gov't are just about on the same level of evil!!
Hey Deb December 08, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Agreed!
Hey Deb December 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
This is to Mr. Crumbaker, you need 3 jobs JUST to make it in Maryland? tsk tsk
Bob December 11, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Are you really calling your cops and firefighters evil? I hope your moat is deep and full of water to keep criminals out of your castle and fight any fires that might erupt so you won't have to call these evil public servants who put their lives on the line every day for the rest of us peasants.
G-Man December 11, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I believe the point that "Hey Deb" made is that unions are the root of the problem. Union members get raises before non union employees? We need to re-evaluate what unions are "suppose" to be and not what they stand for today. It wouldn't break my heart if we did away with all unions.
TJ December 11, 2012 at 04:53 PM
To give a raise to a "union" is a problem. You reward the good people not enough and give the same amount to others that just don't care. If the County wants to fire a union member, it cost thousands of tax payers money. Unions over the years have ruined what was a good thing. The word greed comes out load and clear.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 05:21 PM
@G-Man, that is exactly what I mean. Just MHO put it seems that private sector is ignored on a regular basis...while, at one time, Unions fought for it's people, now it seems that they are on top of the totem pole, while everyone else is put on the second burner. Unions of today, want, want, want, and I have seen private workers put in more hours, with much less pay and benefits. Not on an even playing field anymore, in fact, it's been years since the field has been even. I'm also with you on my heart not breaking if Unions were disbanded. Correct me if I am wrong, isn't Michigan pushing for that right now?
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 05:23 PM
@TJ Well stated and oh so true.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 05:25 PM
@Bob, read updated comments
Maryellen Brady December 11, 2012 at 05:44 PM
No, The republican Governor Rick Snyder who was busy destroying cities and divesting the "common good assets" under the EMERGENCY FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT was defeated in the referendum has moved on to Right To Work (for less) legislation via TORPEDO and dirty trickery. He deceived the people. Republicans cannot advance their fake fiscal policies with truth telling, so they lie. Unions have been a valuable ally for workers across the country. They have been instrumental in building the middle class and enhancing work place benefits for all who labor. And in ADAM SMITH's capitalist society, it is the worker who are entitled to their fair share of return on productivity. Unions advance that RIGHT to WORK and respect.
Odenton Guy December 11, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I am definitely not a big fan of unions. I don't follow everything in the county thoroughly but I'm surprised to see police officers were included in furloughs. Since nothing is mentioned of overtime I'm assuming we had less police officers on duty during these furloughs. I've been furloughed in my position over the last couple of years but our police force was exempt from furloughs for obvious reasons. Also, I'm way more concerned that the county council is looking to end binding arbitration and basically override any arbitration they don't win. That won't breed any corruption.
Maryellen Brady December 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Glad to see the courts overturned the republican dominated county council legislation to repeal BINDING ARBITRATION. Anne Arundel County is not BROKE. And the woe-is-me attitude that is expressed in so many of the above comments is rather pathetic. County employees have to meet certain standards for employment, they have regular performance reviews and they earn their salaries every day. Unions are the voices of employees who in most cases are also taxpayers. They also lead the way to fair treatment for all employees. "We the people" need them to be on the job every day: on the streets, in the classrooms, in the halls of justice.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Oh Maryellen.....if you are going to fall back into BLAME the Republicans....we have nothing to discuss, AT ALL. Hope you like the huge tax hike you are going to get in 2013...Thank Obama for that one! Note: Unions are the Voices of the people! LMAO!!!! ok, you keep on believing that one.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 07:12 PM
FYI: Breaking news in Michigan.....all H*ll has hit the fan.....fights, verbal attacks, assaults....http://twitchy.com/2012/12/11/new-tone-mich-democrat-threatens-violence-over-right-to-work-vote-there-will-be-blood/ Click on link, there are videos and other stories if you search, but they are literally fighting in the street in Michigan
TJ December 11, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Unions have one purpose, more member to get more money. They will slow workers down to create a need for more workers. It's called greed at the tax payers expense. The unions could care less about the economy and the people paying for all their benifits, they just want more of everything. The County was right trying to change the rules. Every one has a right to work, just not at our expense.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM
@TJ that's EXACTLY what it boils down to! Also, take into account Union dues. not cheap, but as stated above, raised are not given on merit, they are given because it has become the Norm. The workers that are not worth 2 cents oft get promoted and make even MORE money. Makes me sick. BTW: I think the whole Country was APPALLED with the aftermath of Sandy, Utility workers from several States came to HELP, and were turned away..yes, off topic on this, but, still shows the Corruption that Unions now represent. JOIN the Union or you cannot help us. What in the HECk was that about? Other States even told, them, we don't care about the money, WE CAME TO HELP. Unions have outlived their purpose.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 10:57 PM
One other point, Members that have retired, DEPEND on Union Dues, nice retirement pay, no Union members that are active, no fat checks every month. I compare THAT with Gov't workers, same deal, retire and get fat pensions and all the bennies that go with it...yep, Unions have outlived their purpose! All States should be a RIGHT TO WORK State.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Oops, sorry, one more thing, with respect to Fireman and Policemen, now I DO support them getting a fair wage..they do, after all, risk their lives every time they walk out the door. They SHOULD be compensated. Fact: Domestic calls are probably one of the top most dangerous calls a Police Officer goes on.
TJ December 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Why should public servents get paid more, more benifits, job for life, than the people who pay their wages. Union officals are making a lot of money off the dues and a cut of everything. Raises should be for performance not automatic. The County and State should have a right to weed out the weak links and get rid of them without Union input.
Hey Deb December 11, 2012 at 11:16 PM
HT, why do I have the sneaky feeling that Council Members didn't miss a raise?
Hey Deb December 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM
TJ, they should't. these "positions" are so close to Elected Officials it's sickening! It's Corruption, Greed, and the Entitlement Gang, and no one can tell me any different. I think Unions should be done away with! Union I was with didn't do me any favors! However, they sure did want their dues paid! I said in an earlier comment that raises should be on MERIT, not one of those across the board deals. The ONLY people IMHO that should have a Union Rep but not a full solid Union are Police officers and members of the Fire Dept/Emts however, that can run into problems as well, as so many with the Fire Dept are Volunteers. I keep yeling Evil, Corruption, Greed, however, I am not off base with this. Also, it HAS come down to the Entitlement issue...I DID NOT want to bring Politics into this, but BOTH parties have not helped in this, in fact, they have made it worse..and shoot, they are the WORSE example of lining pockets in existence...Unions lobby the Elected Official for their specific State, and the Kick backs start right there.....it's a huge problem, just a problem people don't stop and think about, OR do not care about. BTW: Michigan...the Auto Workers Union..the people that are with the union..WANT OUT....Looks like the Union is going down there..and Michigan will start the transition to RIGHT TO WORK. It's a dirty business, it really is.
Jake March 16, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Lets not forget what arbitration is in the first place. A NEUTRAL third party looks at both sides of the impasse and decides which deal is the most fair. You can't just assume that the arbirator will always side with the union. In reality the unions lose arbitration just as much as they win. The only reason for the county to attempt to remove binding arbitration is so that they can propose any offer they want to our public safety unions without any intention to negotiate in good faith, and no worry of repercussion.
Maryellen Brady March 17, 2013 at 03:28 AM
I love unions. They help , the govt WE THE PEOPLE do the moral and right thing in respecting workers for their productivity. They speak for those who would otherwise be silent or afraid. They have lead the way to the 40 hour work week, paid vacation days, fair living wages.. It is disgusting that the private sector has sunk so low and disrespected the backbones of most companies (workers) a big defense contractor who is making record profits and shipping money out of country to avoid taxes has just cut out sick days for their employees. So, now the employees go to work sick or deprive their families. The middle class is shrinking because FAIRNESS is no longer the goal in the work place, it is all about making a few rich and powerful. Adam Smith's capitalism was good for all, there was a legitimate SHARING OF THE WEALTH of productiviy, and as he said out of land, labor and capital, labor is the greates wealth of a nation.

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