Abele and his staff have spent months poring over spreadsheets, comparing pay scales and benefits between the various job titles and between the various unions. Abele claimed that they were looking to make things more equitable between job titles and unions. What Abele didn't tell people that the equity he was looking for involved the lowest common denominator.
Abele's ultimate goal was to break AFSCME - which has been a constant barrier to Abele's plans of running rough shod over the workers and privatizing everything so that he and his fellow plutocrats can make the county into their own cash cow - and then in turn pick off the smaller unions at his leisure.
He used this as an excuse to freeze pay raises for all county raises (except for his own staff of course!). He also was looking to all but destroy the grievance process, making it a Machiavellian system that was stacked against the workers.
Furthermore, he wanted to make safety and written reprimands as the only grievable issues. In other words, if the worker got an oral reprimand, they were out of luck. If one worker was given twice as much as work as the worker who was Abele's crony, the first worker was out of luck. If management created a hostile work environment, the workers were out of luck.
Under Abele's proposed system, the workers' only choices was to live with the unfair practices, quit their jobs or sue the county.
There was one thing in Abele's way of doing this - the Status Quo Ordinance.
A couple of years ago, the leadership of AFSCME District Council 48 saw what was coming with Act 10 and how it would cut the union off at the knees and throw the county into chaos. The unions then worked with the Milwaukee County Board and Abele to codify as much of the contract the union had with the county as possible under Act 10. This would prevent some of the chaos that is happening in other governments and protect the workers as much as possible.
But then Abele changed his mind after realizing that the Status Quo Ordinance would keep him from his corporate takeover of the county assets and hence his plan which he calls "Cross Walk." It should really be named "Cross Hairs."
Undaunted and unthinking, Abele still had his people present his plan, which got shot down in favor of the immeasurably more preferable resolution. It didn't help Abele's cause much when Kerry Mitchell, Abele's handpicked Director of Human Resources, insulted the committee members:
Things got testy during the board's finance committee meeting Thursday over a proposed set of work rules that Human Resources Director Kerry Mitchell said she'd been trying in vain to get supervisors to discuss.The committee voted 9-0 to approve the resolution strengthening the ordinance.
"I don't think any of you have any comprehension" how difficult and complex the work rule project was, Mitchell said. She said she could tell supervisors also didn't understand a complicated salary study.
Supervisors said they were insulted by her remarks.
"Maybe I'm just too much of a bumpkin to get it," Cullen said.
Abele was so upset about again being told no that he had yet another one of his temper tantrums, accusing committee members of ignoring legal advice and breaking the law and said that they should be recalled:
Abele even suggested the board's failure to listen to the advice of county lawyers on those issues could provoke a recall effort against supervisors.In an exclusive report, I demonstrated that Abele was a bold-faced liar with an email showing that not only did Corp Counsel help write the ordinance and found it legal, but Abele already knew about it:
"When your legal adviser tells you this isn't legal and you do that anyway, the word that usually comes to mind is recall," Abele said.
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The moral of the story is that when people pull together, when we work in true solidarity, we can overcome the big money special interests and thwart their attacks on the people. The keys are to educate and to organize.
As I keep pointing out time and time again, "The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor." (Quote from Thomas Donahue)
Perhaps it's time we beat this into the Democrats' collective head so that we can take on the Kochs and the Bradley Foundation and their sockpuppet, Scott Walker.