Thursday, November 5, 2009

Follow The Bouncing Furlough Day

Last month, the Milwaukee County Board chose to go with four furlough days before the end of the year to help with this year's budget in order to help with next year's budget. When the Board passed the resolution for the furloughs, they had set specific days for the furloughs:

The furlough days outlined in the resolution are spread across four pay periods to reduce the wage impact on employees, he said.

The furloughs would occur on Nov. 13 and 25, and Dec. 4 and 24.

“We are also encouraging full-day closures of as many county offices as possible on these days,” said Coggs, chairwoman of the county board’s finance and audit committee. “By closing offices on four business days, we will see energy savings on top of the savings on personnel costs.”

Before they passed this resolution, it was amended to make an exception for the courts, since they all had cases booked to be heard. The Board agreed to allow the courts to go with only one day of furlough and the rest of the required savings made up in other cost cutting methods.

We received an email today that the Coggs Building will now be open on Wednesday, November 25, but closed on Friday, November 20. I was told that the rationale was that November 25 is traditionally the busiest day for the Economic Support Program, as people make a rush to get food stamps and/or food for Thanksgiving.

The problem is that as we were told of the first day a month ago, many people planned accordingly and bought airline tickets for traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. One person even scheduled a medical procedure for that day.

Now these people are being told that they will either have to report to work or use their own time to take off, if they have any time left to take. This creates an unfair burden on the workers who planned accordingly.

I also learned today that the nurses union was allowed to make a special arrangement with the County where they will not have to take any furlough days. The only thing that they are giving up is that on the next minor holiday, Veteran's Day, they only will accumulate four instead of eight hours of holiday time to be taken later.

So, now we have the essential services like the Sheriff's Office, the House of Correction and the Behavioral Health Division already exempt, the lawyer's union gets only one day of furlough, and the nurses only give up half a day of free time. That means that the County is trying to fix their budget on the back of about 2,000 workers and the people they serve.

I'm not complaining about the furloughs per se. It's just make up your minds on a plan and stick to it.

Perhaps what the County needs is their own Smart Furlough Bill.


  1. Furloughs should be handled equally. No one should get a break.
    If you do furloughs, everyone should be involved, incluing politicians, including Walker.

  2. If they made Walker pay the County back for all of the days he missed while campaigning, there would be no deficit.

  3. Sad that asking county workers for unpaid time off causes them to freak about public safety, but give them paid time off and they've all gone fishing.

    And the county owes Scott for his service. After all he did cut his own pay. Please name one worker who cared about Milwaukee County's future that much.


  4. Um, sleeping ugly,

    Voluntary time off without pay has been around for much longer than Walker.

    And we don't get to claim tax deductions for doing that, like Walker does.

    But, hey, if you want higher taxes, stick with Scooter. The way things look now, this could be a record year for old Scoot, when his budget actually blows up before it gets enacted.

  5. And we don't get to claim tax deductions for doing that, like Walker does.

    From what I have read, he has paid taxes on the income he did not take.

  6. You can't believe everything you hear or read, especially when it deals with Walker.

  7. skippys' been on a furlough since he started as county executive.

  8. The problem anonymous is that he still gets paid for his furlough days off. I don't.

    Also, if he wanted to give me a $10,000+ raise before cutting my pay, like he did for his buddies, I bet the unions would agree in a heart beat.

  9. Nurses are exempt from furlough days because we are direct patient care; however there are other professionals in the union and rather than see them have furlough days, nurses agreed to forgo holiday time/pay to cover them.

  10. Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals

    ATTENTION: Local 5001 Milwaukee County Chapter Members--Update on Furloughs
    Print E-mail

    On October 28, 2009, our union and Milwaukee County reached an agreement that excludes all WFNHP members from the furlough plan. That means NO FURLOUGHS for our union members. Instead of some members losing 32 hours of pay, all members will accrue only 4 hours on the next minor holiday (which should be Veterans Day). Part time employees will have the time pro-rated. This reduction from 8 hours to 4 hours is for this year only, and only for the one minor holiday.

    All department heads have been notified of this arrangement. If you are hearing from your manager that you will be furloughed, they are wrong. For those of you that would have been furloughed there are a number of alternatives:

    You may rearrange your work week so that you work four 10 hours days as opposed to five 8 hour days, but you would have to waive overtime.
    You should be allowed to work in your office on the 4 furlough days if the department offices are considered open, and if they are to be closed, you should be allowed to enter the facilities to work.
    If you work outside of your office, you should be able to do so even on the scheduled furlough days.
    If you have any questions or run into any problems, call either the union office or one of the union officers.

  11. Other workers such as in my local also provide such billable care. The County refused to entertain the same consideration for AFSCME.

  12. "Billable care" is different than direct patient care. Sorry, but you can't close the hospitals. Admin and other departments (some of whom are nurses) that are not 24/7 patient contact are furloughed. I think it was applied as evenly as possible and I'd rather take some time off than lose my job.
    Hey but wait, nurses aides are in your union aren't they? I'm sure they are also exempt from furlough right?

  13. No, you can't close hospitals, but that does not mean workers can be given rotating furlough days.

    CNA's are repped positions, but I'm not sure in which local.