March 24, 2011

MoCo Unions Call Exec's Budget Illegal, Plan Thursday Rally

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- The Montgomery County government workers union says the county executive operated outside the law in his 2012 budget, and will rally outside his office Thursday night to protest.

County employee unions allege that County Executive Ike Leggett went against an arbitrator's ruling that he's bound by law to follow. The arbitrator had ruled in favor of a proposal offered by the unions during collective bargaining talks, but Leggett's budget includes cuts that oppose the plan.

"We're not asking for any additional raises; we're not asking for any benefit enhancements. In fact, we put a proposal on the table that would yield the savings the executive claimed he needed," said Gino Renne, the president of the Montgomery County chapter of a nationwide government employee union.

Renne told 630 WMAL News that the union is pursuing legal action against Leggett. He says he believes the county council will side with the unions when they vote on the budget in May.

Public employee unions have contributed tens of millions of dollars towards balancing the county budget, Renne says. He adds that if union spending is reduced, it could lead to countywide foreclosures, evictions and students not being able to afford college. "It's not an issue of helping the workers," Renne told WMAL, "it's an issue of fairness and balance."

On the union's website, the protest is called a rally against "'Outlaw' Ike." An old-west style "Wanted" poster says his crimes are "contract busting" and "scapegoating county workers." The county executive could not be reached for comment. SOURCE: WMAL

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