The president of the union that represents the majority of university employees, Danny of AFSCME Council 61, was critical in his remarks to the Board of Regents today. “I want to thank you for allowing us to be here today, I also want to say it has been a long time in coming,” Homan said. Homan said as the union representing employees, “it’s a shame it too us so long to get here, this is not the first budget crisis we’ve gone through, since I was elected president, which was July of 2005.”
Homan says the union is ready talk about the budget cutting proposals. Homan says they will sit down and discuss the issue willingly as they believe the most important thing to do is to save jobs. He says it will be a huge challenge this fiscal year and next fiscal as he does not believe the budget crisis is over yet.
Homan says the governor has asked them to reopen contract negotiations. He says they will listen, but told the board “furlough” is not a word of the union uses. “It doesn’t exist anywhere in our contract, I don’t know that it ever will. That’s not a decision I make, it’s a decision the membership of this union will make,” Homan says. Homan says the union has done its share in the past by taking pay cuts and pay freezes. He says the union has lost membership, while other positions at the universities have gained.
“Those are the folks that do the dirty work every day at these universities to make sure that they run effectively, but yet, our bargaining units keep going down,” Homan says. Homan says the union wants to be involved in the discussions so the cuts are made without losing jobs.