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Unions Buoyed by Rejection Of Pr. George's Furloughs

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:23 PM
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Unions Buoyed by Rejection Of Pr. George's Furloughs

My employer is talking about furloughs too.

By Jonathan Mummolo and Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Union leaders said Wednesday that a federal judge's ruling that furloughs in Prince George's County were unconstitutional bolsters their fight against similar measures by cash-strapped governments elsewhere.

But labor law experts said it is unclear what effect the ruling will have outside Prince George's, given the narrow focus of the decision and the county's plan to appeal.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. found that Prince George's violated the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution by effectively reducing the salaries of 5,900 employees with 10-day furloughs last fiscal year. Williams said that the salaries were guaranteed under contract and that the county could have used other means to save money, including tapping its sizable reserve fund, which Prince George's officials said would be financially irresponsible.

Williams ordered the county to repay employees the money saved by the furloughs, estimated by county officials at $17 million. A county spokesman said Tuesday that the expense would result in "massive layoffs" and cuts to services.

Amid a prolonged recession, a number of county and state governments across the country have implemented, or considered, furloughs to help close budget gaps. Regardless of whether it withstands appeal, experts said Tuesday's ruling will be embraced by labor groups as a model for combating the measures.

"Virtually every union in the country is probably already well aware of this decision," said Jeffrey Hirsch, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law who specializes in labor law. "You better believe they are going to wave this around."

FULL 2 page story at link.

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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very similar to what is happening with Hawaii, court blocked furloughs and the state countered with
pink slips
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