A conservative, anti-tax group is urging state workers to accept a five percent cut in their pay, to avoid hundreds of layoffs in state government. Iowans for Tax Relief president Ed Failor, Junior says a salary reduction is better than outright unemployment.
“We shouldn’t be cutting services and we shouldn’t be adding to the unemployment rolls,” Failor says. “We already have enough people unemployed.”
On Friday, Governor Culver said he’d be having “candid” conversations with union leaders and that would “perhaps” be a prelude to reopening contract talks in order to enact pay cuts. According to Failor, cutting state workers’ salaries by five percent would save about $140 million. Failor says he doubts the unions will agree to reopen contract talks.
“The unions then are showing what they’re really about. What they’re really about is getting as much out of the taxpayer as they possibly can and Keeping average salaries up as high as they can and expanding their power,” Failor says. “What they should be about is protecting those thousand-plus employees that everyone’s acknowledging are going to be laid off and say, ‘Are we brothers in this union or are we not?’ And if we are, then we should not want others getting laid off and losing their jobs in their entirety when what we can do to solve the same problem is say, “Everyone’s going to share this burden and take a little bit of the cut.'”
Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Council 61 — the union representing the largest share of state workers, issued a written statement, saying his union worked hard to settle a contract that was “fair to both state employees and taxpayers.” Homan said it would be “unfair” to comment on any future negotiations, whenever they may occur.