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Letters to the Editors

Why not try collective bargaining?

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 17, 2002

Editor: Much is being bantered around about the morale of county employees and attempts by the Board of Commissioners to find solutions for better communications between employees and leading administrative personnel.

Little has been offered toward discussions of a policy by the county of a living wage, even though studies sought by the Human Resources Department attempt suggestions that Hernando County wage scales are comparable to counties of equal description.

For the most part, county employees are comfortable in their surroundings and usually have excellent relationships with supervisors and fellow employees. Employees, among themselves, have a sense of extended family with their workplace.

It is doubtful they need any assurances from the county administrator of their worth and value to the public sector, or that special considerations must come from the county administrator and his staff to satisfy so-called expectations about their workplace.

What they may need is public employee collective bargaining, with which I am familiar when this movement was enacted in the early 1980s in all public sectors in the state of Ohio.

I was special executive administrative assistant to the CEO of one of Ohio's 17 state psychiatric hospitals at the time collective bargaining became the rule in Ohio.

I was responsible for facilitating the specifics of collective bargaining with both management and employees.

It allowed public employees to engender self-esteem and some sense of determining their future in the workplace, along with feeling they had value in participating with policy and procedure for the workplace.

We see this locally with Hernando County teachers whose representatives can voice concern and be active participants with the administration and School Board about school policy and procedure, as well as build for the future of the school district.

It is not unusual for a certain amount of hypervigilance to rise among public employees to be subject to the whims of supervisors and administrative procedures at the least provocation.

It may be, indeed, in the public interest to have public employee collective bargaining as a standard to assure a safe workplace, encourage increased public service, raise self-esteem and allow the expertise of public workers to be safe-guarded against sudden administrative disciplinary procedures.

If there were ever a time for serious consideration of public employee collective bargaining, now is the time, and every effort should be offered by the board and by the administrative staff to encourage a process for inviting collective bargaining to the table for serious review.
-- Deron Mikal, Brooksville

Bad service sounds familiar; here's my beef

Editor: Re: Hold leaders responsible for fiascoes, March 13 letter to the editor:

Christopher Washington wrote a letter about a run-in he had with a local lube job manager.

A lot of us could write the same letter, probably not as well as Mr. Washington.

I ordered a steak at a local restaurant. It was beyond tough. The waitress made a cursory inquiry: "How's everything?"

I said, "This steak -- I can't cut it."

She said, "Just a minute, I'll get you a sharper knife."
-- John Albert, Spring Hill

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