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Lower Macungie Supervisors Raise Workers' Pay

But they weren't happy about it.

In a slim vote, Lower Macungie Township Supervisors voted on Feb. 3 to raise the salaries of its nine clerical workers by 2.9 percent this year, 2.8 percent in 2012 and 2.7 percent in 2013.

But it was a hesitant vote, at best.

Roger Reis, supervisor president, explained before the vote that the township offered the workers a 2-percent increase, but the clerical workers’ representative – all members of Teamsters Local 773 – countered the original offer with a request for a 4-percent increase.

“It’s difficult to separate feelings in a situation like this,” he said. “We know these people. It’s personal and we didn’t want to slight anyone.”

"These are tough economic times," Reis continued, "The city of Bethlehem laid off workers and we all know people who have lost their jobs, their bonuses, their raises. So we thought our offer of 2 percent was fair.”

However, he said, he didn’t want to be “penny wise and pound foolish” if the decision to reject the contract at hand was going to spark a lawsuit by the workers. If the township stuck to its guns to save $10,000 but was then forced to spend $50,000 in legal fees, voting against the contract would be counterproductive.

“Therefore, I will vote to accept this contract, not because it’s the contract I want, but because it’s fairest to the people of Lower Macungie Township.”

Supervisors Douglas Brown and Ron Eichenberg also voted to pass the contract, but without comment.

Supervisor Joseph Pugliese voted no, saying the workers deserve an increase, “But I would like to have seen less of an increase,” he said.

Supervisor Ryan Conrad also voted no, saying that in a year when the township passed a budget that included a $300,000 deficit, more than a 2-percent increase was not in the best interest of the taxpayers.

“A 2-percent increase is not a penalty. A penalty would be a 0-percent increase or a cut in pay. So, I will reluctantly vote no. I know this can impact morale, but it’s not the quality of their work. The original offer was in the interest of belt-tightening when belt-tightening is needed,” Conrad said.

Trevor February 04, 2011 at 03:38 PM
All I have to say is WTF. Clean house then hire people from the township to do the work. Also to close the gap on the $300,000 deficit how about anyone in the township who makes more than $120,000 per year gives up an extra $1,000 in taxes. That should close the gap quite nicely.
Tim Phluger February 04, 2011 at 04:13 PM
You are seeing the main problem with unions and their ability to limit free competition among the positions they fill. 9 people arguing for a 4% raise over a 3 year period knowing that the total out of pocket for the township is less than $50,000 arbitration would cost over that time. So from a cash flow issue, it is less expensive to offer raises down to 2.8 or 2.9 than pay the legal fees in arbitration even though they would likely get a 0% raise this year, 1 next year, and 2 the follow based on economic conditions and other contracts that were negotiated in near by municipalities. What this article is not telling us is the cost of health insurance increases and the pension costs associated with the raise. Would they still below $50,000 with this contract over 3 years?
Melissa Moyer-Schneck February 05, 2011 at 03:26 AM
I agree with everyone else , we should not be fearful of those working in our township offices filing lawsuits with their unions over not getting a 4% pay raise, this is why unions ARE WASTEFUL. This is also why those of our elected officials who voted yes to this pay raise need to be aware of their bosses, the citizens of this township and the fact that we will no longer forget this foolishness and these lame excuses any longer. This is just ridiculous, you can't turn on the news any longer without hearing about unemployment, foreclosures , lost jobs and welfare skyrocketing. These township employees should be thankful they have a job...many of us don't, some of us have jobs and have NOT seen a pay raise for the past three years, but are THANKFUL we have a job. Keep track of this citizens of lower Macungie...I'm certainly not forgetting the foolishness of these officials.
Mr.Matt February 07, 2011 at 07:52 AM
I miss Marge ! at least she interviewed me for a cleaning job, LOL ! then yelled at me for saying I don't pay her the taxes, they go to the township, shame on you all !

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