CARMEL — It was standing room only in the Putnam County Historic Courthouse during the county’s recent 2019 budget hearing, as our Putnam County Unit members came together to protest legislators allocating raises for themselves and county management while continuing to push back on a fair contract for our members.
Members from across county departments were fired up about the disrespectful treatment, pointing out that legislators gave themselves whopping 14 percent raises last year and planned a 2 percent raise for management in the proposed 2019 budget.
Before the budget hearing, members rallied outside the building, receiving a chorus of car horns honking in support as motorists passed by during the evening commute.
“We rallied to show we’re disheartened by how the county disrespects their employees by ignoring their apprehensions,” said Putnam County Unit President Janet Canaday. “Besides not having a contract, members have noticed renovations throughout the county that have been done for the public, yet many worksites have repairs needed that have not been addressed even after we’ve notified management.”
Members have been working under an expired contract since Dec. 31, 2015. Unit leaders noted that management has dragged out the negotiations process, cancelling several negotiations sessions and arriving unprepared at others.
At this time of year, county public health workers are visiting schools across the county to offer flu shots, a service few counties offer. The county’s 911 operators already faced a late fall snowstorm that left motorists stranded and resulted in hundreds of car accidents around the region, meaning they fielded nonstop calls for help. Workers in the Department of Social Services continue to face heavy caseloads to ensure the safety of vulnerable children and adults.
CSEA members in Putnam County are in the same position as many of our union members providing public services, grappling with increased workloads as they take on duties of former co-workers whose jobs are not filled after they retire.
— Jessica Ladlee