County job vacancies may be a management problem

The daily newspaper posted early this morning an article comparing the job vacancies in Escambia County government to other counties: Escambia 18.5%, Santa Rosa 9%, Okaloosa 14.5% and Bay 7%.

A recent Facebook post from ATU Local 1395 president Mike Lowery points to the lack of progress in union negotiations may be why people are leaving ECAT and other county jobs.

ATU Local 1395 Update:
Escambia County Operational Unit:
It’s annoying that the Operational Unit (Blue Collar) group, I can’t get scheduled a labor negotiation session. To close out this contract takes one thing that hasn’t occurred since June 2020. The County Management team needs to respond to the Union wage counter.

It’s simple! We will “not” agree to “not” allow 30% of the bargaining unit to receive “no raise”. This week I’m pushing hard to schedule another negotiation session. Management excuses and non-response is not working any more!

By the way these extraordinary public servants worked through a pandemic and a hurricane while most of their wages are “not” industry standard levels. Times up Escambia County! Time to treat your employees with dignity and respect.
Filling the open jobs is critical. Down 20 to 30 Equipment Operator II positions. Pay and workers will apply.

ECAT Unit:
ECAT lost another driver. She quit and her resignation letter was clear. There are problems at the Transit system in Escambia County. Within the next 2 to 4 months others are leaving as well.

The system has major shortages of bus operators, about 20 down and the maintenance department is struggling too. If feels like survival mode.

The County Administration, HR department, and ECAT Management need to switch gears and give up on trying to beat down the ATU. Three and 1/2 years of labor negotiations and we haven’t rolled over. It’s time to give the 5% wage increase that’s budgeted to the workforce.

Offering less than 1% is just insulting. Especially since the workers carried the system through a pandemic without “any” recognition and also a hurricane.

It’s time to literally sit down with the Union and actually work through the non economic articles within the collective bargaining agreement. It’s time to narrow down those 3 or 4 items the County has heartburn with and just hash them out with the Union leadership. Attacking fundamental rights like “seniority” is just plain disgusting.
ECCT Unit:
Time for ITL Solutions Management to pay a living wage. It’s been since August 2020 we’ve been attempting to negotiate a wage-reopener for the Paratransit drivers. Their wages are very low with at least half the workforce making less than $12 an hour. Management has offered just 1.5% wage increase. This is totally unacceptable. Now in just another month we are to be negotiating the next wage reopener for 2021.

County Administrator and the County Commissioners must take note of this. The system is down about 15 drivers. The drivers also worked through a pandemic and a hurricane. Why are these workers treated like second class workers? They transport our most vulnerable citizens within our community on a daily basis.