The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Health & Public Service

March 28, 2012

Unions seek to make city government more efficient

These have not been easy days for local unions. In February Indiana became the 23rd state to become a right to work state.

With the passage of House Bill 1001, unions are prohibited from forcing workers to join or pay dues and fees to a labor union. The bill was mired in controversy, which included a walkout by many democratic legislators during last year's session.

While the Indiana legislature passed other notable bills such as the statewide smoking ban, and elimination the inheritance tax, HB 1001 received the most attention.

“It probably will have the biggest impact on cities and towns,” Anderson Fraternal Order of Police President Scott Calhoun said.

Calhoun said the bill makes it harder for workers to obtain a working wage.

“Most of the jobs coming into the city only pay $8 to $10 an hour,” he said.

In January a call center for TeleServices Direct opened in the Flagship business park. The company announced center could create 180 jobs for the city, however pay would range from $10 to $15 an hour.

Trinna Davis, president of UAW 1963, said right to work will not impact city and county employees, since public institutions can not require union membership as a requirement of employment. The ensuing debate over unions, however, has caused misconceptions she said.

“People think (union workers) make a lot of money, but the UAW has members that qualify for public assistance,” Davis said.

Davis believes public employees have not been a high priority of either county or city governments, who have chose to spend money wastefully on lawsuits and contracted expenditures instead.

“We just want to survive, on those wages it’s hard,” Davis said.

Calhoun’s FOP also went through some turmoil last year. Last September the city council denied the police department their request to hire more officers to satisfy its contract with the FOP.

In a 7-2 vote the council voted to decrease the department’s budget, preventing them from reaching the 120 officer minimum set forth by the FOP. Calhoun has filed a grievance with the city.

Just years prior, Calhoun said the department was operating with 132 officers, however under mayor Kevin Smith, a former APD officer, the department’s manpower was decreased to 120.

Following a string of retirements, Calhoun said the department is down to 118 officers, with former mayor Kris Ockomon being the newest addition.

“What it all comes down to is reduced manpower means reduced services,” he said.

Tax dollars have become harder and harder to come by for all city departments, Calhoun said.

“In the 80s it was not uncommon to have $100,000, sometimes $1 million, left over in the budget to be used as a rainy day fund. Ever since that rollover has decreased and decreased,” he said.

While unions are not happy about the loss of revenue, Calhoun believes they have come a long way in civility.

“Unions in Anderson are not about fist banging and yelling, we have evolved into a better labor group. If you bankrupt your employer you’re not going to get paid,” he said.

Contact Sam Brattain at 640-4883,

Text Only
Annual Report: Health & Public Service
  • 0323 news AU 029.jpg Ivy Tech, AU engage students in community

    Though Ivy Tech is a system divided into 14 statewide regions with a total of hundreds of educational sites, community-based programs like the clinic help anchor a campus to a specific locality.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1223_news_Brown_02.jpg Brown leads student volunteers

    Many people don’t really know what the Urban League of Madison County has to offer their community. But Lindsay Brown, the organization’s president and CEO, hopes that will change soon.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1217 United Way 1.jpg Nonprofits rethinking the way they do business in today's economy

    United Way of Madison County president Nancy Vaughan has banded together with other local nonprofit organizations, business and local government agencies to find ways to stretch every dollar her organization receives.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0305 news Operation Love food bank18a.jpg Operation Love has big goals

    Operation Love Ministries may not have a huge budget, but the power of a large volunteer group and helpful spirit help the faith-based nonprofit have a giant impact in the lives of those it seeks to help.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 4 AR_School budget story 23a.jpg Madison County school districts weather ups and downs

    It was another year of ups and downs for Madison County schools as some districts reaped the benefits of legislation like school choice while others suffered from it.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • Buck struggles with South Madison budget

    With the economy in a recession, schools such as South Madison are facing many challenges with budget cuts.

    March 28, 2012

  • 1015 news do something 034.jpg Area churches hope to spread message through outreach programs

    As the area’s largest and most visible church, Madison Park Church of God claims a membership of well over 2,000 people. However, the county as a whole is somewhat behind when it comes to religious presence.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • Main Street ministry small but full of life

    Anderson’s Main Street Church of God has been around for nearly one hundred years. Lately, the congregation has been reinvigorated with new members and a spirit of outreach, proving that you can indeed “teach an old church new tricks.”

    March 28, 2012

  • Local unions fight for fair wages, benefits

    For the past 20 years, the firefighters union has been a right-to-work union, according to John Smith, president of the Anderson Firefighters Local 1262. Despite this, there has been a 98 percent involvement rate among firefighters in Indiana.

    March 28, 2012

  • 2 AR_Scott Calhoun FOP president 06a.jpg Unions seek to make city government more efficient

    With the passage of House Bill 1001, unions are prohibited from forcing workers to join or pay dues and fees to a labor union. The bill was mired in controversy, which included a walkout by many democratic legislators during last year's session.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Do you think school is starting too early?

Yes, it shouldn't start until after Labor Day.
Yes, it shouldn't start for another week or so.
No, it's about right.
Not sure.
     View Results