NEWS RELEASE FROM
For Immediate Release
Suffolk AME President Daniel C. Levler’s Labor Day Message to the Bellone Administration
“As Suffolk County commemorates the invaluable contributions of the labor movement across the nation this Labor Day, we must take a hard look at the state of working families in Suffolk County. The nearly 6,000 blue and white collar workers, who comprise the largest independent union in New York and the largest workforce in Suffolk County government, find ourselves among the lowest paid workers in our County, who have been working more than 600 days without a contract, and yet still arrive to work each and every day working tirelessly to ensure Suffolk residents receive the vital services our neighbors depend on.
Since the current Administration took office, AME has weathered more than 1,000 layoffs and other job cuts, leading to staff shortages that have put the services Suffolk's taxpayers depend on in jeopardy--all the while our members’ salaries have remained stagnant at an average salary of $60,000 per year with benefits, which amounts to $45,000 per year in take home pay. It is striking that the County’s lowest paid workers have been forced to bear the majority of the pain for fiscal problems we did not create. At the same time, the average “exempt” political appointee now makes more than $100,000 on average.
I was concerned to read the County Executive’s remark in Newsday that he was looking to strike a “fair deal” with one union on health care. The County Executive must consider the impact of every decision against the fairness to taxpayers and all County Unions, including its largest Union. Maybe highly paid political appointees can afford to pay more for health care, but our nearly 6000 working class members cannot.