More than six weeks ago, I described the situation with regard to the 2010 budget in the City of Wausau. Two things have changed since then:
1. The health insurance premium increase is down to 10 percent from more than 20 percent.
2. The date.
Because we have not been able to gain any agreement with unions representing city workers, we have been forced to deal with the situation through a reduction in payroll, which is presently taking the form of a couple of furlough days and some indefinite layoffs for 10 people that we all hope will be temporary.
Just for a review, here’s what I said on October 2 here:
The fact is that if the unions insist on receiving pay increases as called for in their contracts, then there will be less people standing at the pay window to receive them. It is their right to do that, but here’s the outcome: some people will have to be thrown overboard to accommodate others getting 3 percent raises over the course of the next year. That’s a costly way to pay for a modest increase.
These are exceptional times and they call for exceptional measures — not a futile attempt at “business as usual” for anyone involved. Here’s hoping we can get this sorted out before it becomes very destructive for more people than it would ever have to be.