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letters to the editor 5/9

May 09, 2002

AFSCME worked for better health benefits

To the editor:

This letter is to clarify issues that (Retired) Lt. Roy Cave mentioned in his article on Saturday, April 27. First, there are four union locals and one management group within the City of Hagerstown. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) represents two of these locals.

Local 3373 is the patrol officers in the police department (not lieutenants and sergeants) and Local 1540 is the public works, clerical workers, water department, dispatch, tax office, engineering and non-management employees.

IBEW Local 307 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) represents all (non-management) employees at the light department. IAFF Local 1605 (International Association of Fire Fighters) represents all non-management employees at the fire department. All management employees in every department are represented by the City of Hagerstown.

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Second, the City of Hagerstown created a health care committee. Management is allowed as many members on the committee as the chairperson allows. However, these management members are not necessarily from separate departments. There is also a retired employee on the committee.

This committee was created to assist with health care issues. Each representative from the locals is charged with bringing back the information discussed in the meeting. Sometimes the representative has to return to the meeting with a vote from their respective memberships on an issue.

IBEW, IAFF and management representatives informed the City of Hagerstown that they wanted to switch to a POS (Point of Service) plan. By switching to a POS plan, they felt the City of Hagerstown would save money on health care premiums. However, any savings the City of Hagerstown would get, IBEW, IAFF and Management wanted added to their annual cost of living raises.

AFSCME Locals 3373 and 1540 did not want a POS plan. We wanted to keep our current PPN (Preferred Provider Network) plan. We went without a pay raise last year to keep this plan. AFSCME Locals 3373 and 1540 realized that our retirees could not afford a high increase in premiums so we were willing to sacrifice larger pay raises so our retired union employees could have affordable, good health benefits.

We realized that our retired members were on a fixed income and we were not willing to sacrifice them for a pay raise for ourselves. So, (Ret.) Lt. Cave, your union brothers from AFSCME Locals 3373 (Patrol Officers) and 1540 (Public Works) didn't vote you a 5 percent decrease in retirement. Your fellow management people did along with IBEW and IAFF. We probably won't be getting a salary increase to offset our increase in insurance premiums either.

But you know what, ask any AFSCME Local 3373 and 1540 member if they would continue to sacrifice to help retired union employees and I guarantee you their answer would be the same. Third, (Ret.) Lt. Cave, as for your so-called "union brothers that you hold so dearly in your heart," were these the same union brothers who helped you get a new 25 year retirement system? Were these the same "dear union brothers" who sacrificed a holiday and overtime pay to help with the start up costs for the retirement system that union and management could enjoy?

Last, were these the same "dear union brothers" that you turned your back on when asked to also give up the same holiday and overtime pay and didn't? Thanks! AFSCME - in the public service, protecting worker's rights!

Wayne L. Hose

President, Local 3373

Hagerstown City Police Officers

American Federation of State, County

and Municipal Employees




Some crime does pay

To the editor:

Crime supposedly doesn't pay, except in America.

Where else would a highly paid athlete steal equipment from a team mate and sell it for memorabilia for $2,500, and the only way he can be given his "unconditional release" (fired) by the team owners is if they agree to pay the thief $414,754 (nearly one-half million dollars).

Only in America.

Paul C. Leatherman

Smithsburg

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