NEWS

About 1,000 merit-comp administrators to join AFSCME

Doug Finke

Continuing a trend of recent years, about 1,000 state government administrators have voted to join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

The employees all hold the state job classification of Public Service Administrator Option 6, a job title that was considered a merit-compensation position before the vote. Merit-compensation employees are typically middle managers. They do not receive the same pay raises as union workers, nor do they have the same job protections.

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said the majority of the new union members work at the departments of Children and Family Services and Human Services. Others are in the departments of Public Health and Aging, as well as some smaller departments.

The vote to join the union was held in September 2007, but the results weren’t announced until Monday. The state had challenged whether some of the administrators were eligible for union representation, delaying the final results.

AFSCME has recruited hundreds of workers holding public service administrator titles in the past few years.

“It’s been a major area of organizing,” Lindall said. “The threats to job security, the erosion of working conditions and morale have made all PSAs and other unrepresented employees look for the protection of union representation.”

Votes from another 1,700 administrators are still pending, Lindall said. About 500 are in the Department of Revenue in accounting and auditing divisions. The other 1,200 are spread throughout government, and their duties vary by agency, Lindall said.

Those votes also have been cast, but the state is challenging whether all of the employees are eligible for union membership. Lindall could not say when the determination will be made.

AFSCME now represents about 40,000 state government employees.

Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527.